Pottery, human burials and bullets from Spanish weapons are among the artifacts found by archaeologists in Guatemala at the site of the last Mayan city to resist European conquest, officials said Friday.
A new excavation project began last June with the goal of learning more about Thayasal an outpost where the Mayans first settled in 900 BC. e. in the pre-classical period, the archaeologist who led the excavation told AFP.
Tayasal was the last Mayan city to succumb to Spanish conquest in 1697, a century after Europeans entered the western highlands of modern-day Guatemala, Suarlin Cordova said.
“It was more than 100 years when the northern part of Guatemala was completely outside of Spanish rule, and this happened mainly because the jungle functioned as a natural border, which made it very difficult for the Spanish to reach these places.”
In 1525, Tayazal was also part of the route used by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés during his journey to present-day Honduras.
Most of the buildings at the Tayasal site are buried under soil and vegetation in an area of 7 square kilometers near Lake Peten Itza.
Among the partially exposed structures on the site is a 30-meter high acropolis, which, according to research, functioned as a residence for the ruling elite.
Also visible is a water well that has been in use since pre-Hispanic times.
One of the project’s goals is to improve the site so tourists can better “appreciate” the Mayan archaeological value of the vast region, said Jenny Barrios of Guatemala’s Ministry of Culture and Sports.
The Mayan civilization flourished between 250 and 900 AD in what is now southern Mexico and Guatemala, as well as parts of Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras.