Elizabeth Barber
Christian Science Monitor
August 9, 2013

Archeologists have recovered a 26-foot long, and seven-foot tall frieze from a buried Mayan pyramid in Guatemala. The massive frieze, cast in stucco and painted red, depicts the crowning of a Mayan king, a find that offers a window into the epic battles between rival Mayan kingdoms and the dramas of changing fealties in the Americas more than a thousand years ago.

The frieze depicts a king of cosmic proportions seated atop the head of a mountain god. At the sides are crouching figures holding aloft offerings. The figures’ heads are wreathed in quetzal feathers, their bodies decorated in jade.

Archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli, head of the team that found the artwork, told USA Today that the find is telling both for the scene itself – which offers new evidence about how Mayans anointed their kings – and for the inscription at its bottom, one that tells a tale of swapped sides in a rivalry between two powerful Mayan kingdoms.

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