Formerly, Mayanists believed
the Maya to have been a peaceful people, imbued in their spiritual growth
and their astronomical observations.
However, studies at Tikal and other sites reveal the Maya lived
in city-states and exercised domination over large spans of territory,
called polities, controlled the trade routes, collected taxes and had
a complex political system led by a dynastic Halach Huinic, or Sacred
archaeologist unveiled a dynastic succession of Halach Huinics, who carried out
the destiny of their people, based on absolute divine power, for a continued
period, which lasted various centuries. How
can dynastic power control the economic and spiritual behavior of thousands of
people, in a city with a population as large as 90,000 people at one given time,
and for over 3 centuries without losing focus or adepts?
This is the basic question that continues to move archaeologists today,
like Dr. Richard Hansen, director of the PRAINPEG project in Northern Petén,
who is currently excavating the Preclassic sites of Mirador and Nakbe.
Apparently, ever since the Late Preclassic a ruling apparatus was
conceived, whose sophistication increased with the passing of time, culminating
in the Late Classic Period.
Pennsylvania University’s was the last
archaeological dig of such great
magnitude, with 13 consecutive years of work at the site.
There hasn’t been another project that has been that long in Maya
Archaeology. The subsequent Tikal National Project’s investigations have
allowed scholars to determine the moment in which Tikal’s original settlers
arrived, around the year 800 B.C. and trace their activities at the site until
the collapse of the Maya World in the year 900 A.D., at the end of the Late
Classic Period. Therefore,
archaeological studies at Tikal shed light over 1,800 years of continuous
occupation and the continuous changes on style, ceramics and architecture, which
took place in the course of the centuries. The sociopolitical events and ideological messages sculpted
on the stelae, which told the story of a dynastic sequence of rulers, was what shaped
the history of Tikal.
1972 and 1980: Group
G was studied, Rudy Larios and Miguel Orrego supervised the
work. Studies at this group, known
as the Palace of the Grooves or Acanaladuras, were financed by the
Guatemalan Government’s agency for Anthropological, Archaeological, Historical
and Ethnic Studies named I.D.A.E.H. ( Instituto de Antropologia e Historia ).
it wasn’t until the late seventies that the Proyecto Nacional Tikal, as such,
hundred men and 18 archaeologists studied The Lost
World, The Bahren Group &
The North Zone under the supervision of Juan Pedro Laporte, Marco Antonio Bailey
and Jorge Mario De León, who took turns as project directors between the years
1979 and 1985. Studies, excavation
and large-scale consolidations were funded completely by the Guatemalan Government.
Guatemalan authorities had a great foresight vision of a tourism development,
which included archaeological excavation and restoration in Tikal, as well as
the construction of an international airport near Flores, and a road that
connected the airport to the site.
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