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A 1,200-Year-Old Murder Mystery in Guatemala
NY Times ^ | November 17, 2005 | JOHN NOBLE WILFORD

Posted on 11/17/2005 3:08:23 AM PST by Pharmboy


Andrew L. Demarest

The remains of a Maya king, Kan Maax, who was killed about A.D. 800 in Cancuén with dozens of his royal associates and
courtiers. Despite the puzzling slaughter, the bodies were treated with respect.

Archaeologists and forensic experts in Guatemala have made a grisly discovery among the ruins of an ancient Maya city, Cancuén.

In explorations during the summer, they found as many as 50 skeletons in a sacred pool and other places, victims of murder and dismemberment in a war that destroyed the city and, it seems, served as a beginning of the collapse of the classic period of the Maya civilization. snip...

As the scale of the massacre became apparent, the archaeologists called on Guatemalan forensic investigators for their experience with mass burials of modern war. The team, established in 1996 to excavate the mass graves from Guatemala's civil war, has also analyzed sites in Bosnia, Kosovo and Rwanda.

Arthur A. Demarest, an archaeologist at Vanderbilt University who directed the excavations, described the discovery snip...

In a gruesome departure from what had been normal Maya warfare, he said, the conquerors - not yet identified - did not spare the city to rule it as a vassal state.

Around A.D. 800, they methodically destroyed the palace and monuments and rounded up the king and queen of Cancuén and members of the court, men, women and children. They killed them en masse, mostly by lance thrusts and ax blows to the neck or head. Most of their mutilated bodies were dumped into the palace pool or buried in shallow graves.

"After this tragic and violent event, unlike any yet discovered at a classic Maya site," Dr. Demarest said, "the city of Cancuén was completely abandoned, as were many other cities downstream" on the Pasión River.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeology; guatemala; history; mayan; mayans; noblenatives
I wonder if this is the origin of that Guatemalan drug gang?
1 posted on 11/17/2005 3:08:24 AM PST by Pharmboy
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To: SunkenCiv; aculeus; blam; thefactor

Ping...


2 posted on 11/17/2005 3:09:21 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: ncountylee; All
See related story
3 posted on 11/17/2005 3:11:26 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy

Bush did it. For the oil.


4 posted on 11/17/2005 3:12:09 AM PST by kb2614 (Hell hath no fury than a bureaucrat scorned.)
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To: Pharmboy

Paging Dirk Pitt. Paging Mr. Dirk Pitt.


5 posted on 11/17/2005 3:14:36 AM PST by Thane_Banquo ("Give a man a fish, make him a Democrat. Teach a man to fish, make him a Republican.")
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To: Pharmboy

Well one thing is probably a given. The perps weren't evil white boys. Here all this time I thought the nativehyphen(south/central)Americans were living in a peaceful state of grace with their God(s) or lack thereof until the evil white man came to kill all of them.


6 posted on 11/17/2005 3:14:55 AM PST by RushLake (Baghdad minus saddam hussein = Detroit)
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To: All

ARTIFACTS OF A MASSACRE: Bones and spears are among the items
archeologists discovered in the ruins of the Maya city of Cancuen, in what today is
Guatemala. (Andrew L. Demarest)
7 posted on 11/17/2005 3:22:23 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy

Well one thing is probably a given. The perps weren't evil white boys. Here all this time I thought the nativehyphen(south/central)Americans were living in a peaceful state of grace with their God(s) or lack thereof until the evil white man came to kill all of them.


8 posted on 11/17/2005 3:29:57 AM PST by RushLake (Baghdad minus saddam hussein = Detroit)
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To: RushLake

Sorry for the double post. These new fangled clicker things are tricky.


9 posted on 11/17/2005 3:30:37 AM PST by RushLake (Baghdad minus saddam hussein = Detroit)
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To: kb2614

"Bush did it."

Dammit, you beat me to it.


10 posted on 11/17/2005 3:49:04 AM PST by LibertarianInExile (Let O'Connor Go Home! Hasn't She Suffered Enough? Hasn't The CONSTITUTION Suffered Enough?)
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To: LibertarianInExile

OJ is still looking for the killers.


11 posted on 11/17/2005 3:53:05 AM PST by IndyInVa (There needs to be less corruption. Or more opportunity for me to participate in it.)
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To: Pharmboy
I wonder if this is the origin of that Guatemalan drug gang? Or perhaps nearby failed predecessors MS-1 or MS-2.
12 posted on 11/17/2005 5:58:46 AM PST by DancesWithBolsheviks (Celebrate E Pluribus Unum)
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To: Pharmboy; blam; FairOpinion; Ernest_at_the_Beach; StayAt HomeMother; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; asp1; ...
Thanks Pharmboy. Sounds like predecessors of the Sandinistas in nearby Nicaragua.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

13 posted on 11/17/2005 6:40:38 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated my FR profile on Wednesday, November 2, 2005.)
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To: SunkenCiv

How interesting. Someone wanted this entire city abandoned, and its rulers and their line eradicated, ina departure from usual conquest. I wonder why?


14 posted on 11/17/2005 6:43:50 AM PST by Miss Marple (Lord, please look after Mozart Lover's son and keep him strong.)
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To: Miss Marple

Power.


15 posted on 11/17/2005 7:10:23 AM PST by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated my FR profile on Wednesday, November 2, 2005.)
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To: Pharmboy
victims of murder and dismemberment in a war that destroyed the city and, it seems, served as a beginning of the collapse of the classic period of the Maya civilization.

You mean... There was war before the Republicans were in office?

...That's not what the MSM told me - it can't be true.

16 posted on 11/17/2005 7:15:40 AM PST by BostonianRightist (Justice: A Dish Best Served Swiftly)
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To: BostonianRightist

Musta been Bushazuma handling this.


17 posted on 11/17/2005 7:34:51 AM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy

Thanks for the ping. Interesting!


18 posted on 11/17/2005 8:36:43 AM PST by aculeus
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To: Pharmboy

Might also have been a revolt by the non-nobles after an event that shook their faith in the divinity of the king and his family.

They might still have buried them with some remaining vestige of respect--or out of fear of some sort of divine retribution cause by their lese majeste acts.


As a writer, I love to speculate on this stuff as it would make a great novel.


19 posted on 11/17/2005 9:49:26 AM PST by wildbill
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To: SunkenCiv

Please add me SunkenCiv. I love archaeological topics.

LibertyLass


20 posted on 11/17/2005 10:08:39 AM PST by libertylass
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To: Pharmboy
The presumption that this was the result of a foreign conquest is not universally supported. Many credible archaeologists and anthropologist believe that this was the result of a popular revolt against an oppressive or ineffective ruling priest class.

There is evidence that the region underwent a severe and sustained drought that resulted in wide spread starvation. The priestly solution was to increase the human sacrifices to solve the problem. The people eventually realized that they had two problems; the drought and the tyrants. They fixed the one they could and reorganized society to survive the other.

21 posted on 11/17/2005 12:46:30 PM PST by Natural Law
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To: Natural Law

Thanks...makes sense.


22 posted on 11/17/2005 2:34:00 PM PST by Pharmboy (The stone age didn't end because they ran out of stones.)
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To: Pharmboy

An example of "total warfare".


23 posted on 11/17/2005 2:40:08 PM PST by Ciexyz (Let us always remember, the Lord is in control.)
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To: libertylass

Welcome aboard.


24 posted on 11/17/2005 10:31:02 PM PST by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated my FR profile on Wednesday, November 2, 2005.)
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To: Miss Marple
Someone wanted this entire city abandoned, and its rulers and their line eradicated, ina departure from usual conquest. I wonder why?

So they could get rid of the Black inner-city poor and build casinos.

25 posted on 11/17/2005 10:35:15 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (What? Me worry?)
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To: Natural Law
There is evidence that the region underwent a severe and sustained drought

Interesting. Is there a timeframe on this, give or take a 100 years or so?

26 posted on 11/17/2005 10:36:35 PM PST by VeniVidiVici (What? Me worry?)
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To: Natural Law

If they figured out increased human sacrifices was an issue--they didn't learn long. Aztecs came in and outdid everyone else in the world on that level.


27 posted on 11/17/2005 10:40:24 PM PST by Skywalk (Transdimensional Jihad!)
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To: VeniVidiVici
The time frame is detailed in the following link.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/drought/drght_mayan.html

28 posted on 11/18/2005 9:13:27 AM PST by Natural Law
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