Twin-Pyramid Complexes: Unique architectural compounds introduced at Tikal during the Classic Period, presumably related to time marking events and rituals, consisting of buildings arranged in a particular North- South and West- East pattern. There are 7 such complexes in Tikal: Complexes L, M, N, O, P, Q and R. Only the ones for which more information is available have been included in this section. One such complex was built in Yaxhá after it had been conquered by Tikal.
STELLA 22: This stela shows Chitam, the last ruler to leave a written record at Tikal. During the Late Classic period, many nobles competed for power. When they stopped supporting the royal family, the government collapsed.
ALTAR 10: The carvings on this altar show war captives with their hands tied.
SOUTH BUILIDING: This building is on the south side of the group. The south was also associated with the Underworld. The nine doors represent the nine layers of the Underworld.
EAST BUILDING: The ancient Maya used pyramids for ritual and celebration. Only the ruler and highest priests were allowed on the temples’ top. Dancers in fancy costumes added to the excitement as they danced on the flat areas on the sides of the pyramid. The row of plain stelae set in front may have shown carved or painted pictures of the ruler. This building was built on the east side of the group to connect it to the rising sun.
WEST BUILDING: This building is waiting to be uncovered by archeologists. One day, they will learn what lies under this mound of earth.
At the time this complex was built, Tikal was involved in intensive warfare with the city-states of Calakmul, Caracol, and Dos Pilas. This intense war may have led to the collapse of Tikal. War interfered with planting; cut people off from some of their fields, lead to social unrest, and killed many people. When the government collapsed, the city couldn't function. People were not organized to grow food, build temples, or record history. Experts believe this is one factor that led to the end of the ancient Maya civilization.
This pair of pyramids were built by the ruler Ha Sawa Chaan-K'awil to celebrate the end of a katun, a 20-year cycle in the Maya Long Count Calendar. On this day, the ruler conducted rituals and sacrifices to dedicate the new buildings.
Maya rulers used these special days to remind their people and the gods of the great things they had done and the great events in the city's history. During the ritual, the ruler asked the Gods and ancestors to bring prosperity, rain, and good harvests to the city.
ALTAR 5: This altar shows two priests standing behind an altar. On the altar are human thighbones and a skull. Some scholars believe these bones are from the tomb of Ha Sawa Chaan-K'awil's wife. The Maya used the bones of their ancestors for rituals.
Peasant families buried their dead under the floors of their homes. This was a sign of respect and a way to keep their ancestors close. The Maya believed that communicating with their ancestors helped the family and the community.
This is where the sculpture known as the Man of Tikal was found within one of the structures in this complex
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