Researchers recently discovered a tomb belonging to an unnamed Maya king at an archeological site, Chochkitam, in Guatemala. The tomb contained various funeral offerings, including a jade mask that is believed to be 1,700 years old.
There weren’t many formal excavations at Chochkitam in the past, although there was evidence that grave robbers looted most of the site. However, researchers, who are part of Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, have discovered a spot that grave robbers seemingly missed, and it was there that the tomb was found.
Inside the tomb, there was a coffin-shaped stone box that contained mollusk shells, carved human bones, and the jade mask. One of the carvings showed a figure, presumably a king, holding the jade mask. The items were dated to 350 CE.
The discovery is considered quite important as it gives archeologists more information about the period and provides insight into the “religious devotion and royal succession” of the Maya civilization.
“A discovery like this is a bit like winning the lottery in terms of information,” said Francisco Estrada-Belli, the archaeologist who led the excavations. “It opens a window into an obscure time we have very little texts about.”