May 15, 2004 in Nation/World

Scientists find royal burial site

Thomas Maugh III Los Angeles Times

Guatemalan archeologists have discovered the remains of one of the oldest known royal burials at an un-looted tomb in the 1,800-year-old Maya city of Takalik Abaj, about 125 miles west of Guatemala City.

The tomb was discovered under a ceremonial astronomical platform, said archeologist Christa Schieber de Lavarreda of the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture and Sport.

In addition to hundreds of plates and earthen pots, the team found two delicate ear ornaments, a jade necklace, other pieces of jewelry and a jade ceremonial mask that had probably been worn around the waist.

The body of the king was not present, but testing of the soil showed high levels of phosphorus, indicating that the bones simply disintegrated.

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