Archaeologists in Mexico made a shocking discovery on March 13 when they discovered the long-lost capital of an ancient Maya kingdom in the backyard of a cattle rancher in southeastern Mexico. The ancient city is now called Lacania Tzeltal, named after the nearby modern community. The ancient kingdom is said to be the capital of the Sak Tz'l' or "white dog" kingdom which is located in Chiapas, Mexico.
Ancient Maya Kingdom
For more than 20 years, hundreds of researchers had been looking for evidence of the city, which is said to be 3,000 years old. They began the search after they found inscriptions at other Maya excavation sites that described the city's existence. It was in 2014 when Whittaker Schroder, a graduate student, came across a man who was selling carnitas on the side of the highway and told him that his friend who is a cattle rancher, had discovered a massive tablet that is believed to have belongs to the Maya.
When the archaeologists got hold of the 2 x 4 feet tablet ,they deciphered the inscriptions. The tablet told stories of several elderly unnamed gods, an ancient mythical water serpent and accounts about dynastic rulers. All of the tales were part reality and part myth. Seen at the bottom of the tablet was a dancing royal figure that is dressed as Yopaat, the rain god, and the figure is carrying an ax in his right hand and a battle weapon known as manopla in his left hand.
The excavation did not take place right away, it took five years for archaeologists and experts to secure a permit to dig the said spot on the ranch. In June 2018, a team of researchers from Mexico, Canada and America started working on the site while cattle grazed around them.
History of the city
According to experts, the Ancient Maya kingdom was settled by 750BC and it was occupied by ancient humans for more than 1,000 years. The Mayan civilization lasted and thrived until 1500BC and a lot of its cultural influences still exist throughout Mexico. At the start of the 21st century, around 30 Maya languages were still spoken in Mexico.
Experts have also been attempting to trace the capital of Sak Tz'i' since 1994 since evidences of its existence was found on tablet inscriptions that they dug up from other Ancient Maya excavations. The Maya civilization was said to be divided into different diverse kingdoms, and they distinguished themselves through tribal lines.
The capital of Sak Tz'i' is not as impressive or imposing compared to the other Maya sites like the Chichen Itza. However, Professor Charles Golden, an associate professor of anthropology from Brandeis said that the discovery will help experts and researchers understand the sociopolitics of the Ancient Maya civilization.
Professor Golden also added that creating a report about the Maya civilization minus Sak Tz'i' is like drafting a map of medieval Europe minus France. He and his colleagues published their research in the Journal of Field Archaeology with the title "Centering the Classic Maya Kingdom of Sak Tz'i'."