In 2011, archaeologists Kenichiro Tsukamoto and Javier Lopez-Camacho discovered a “hieroglyph-adorned stairway” at the El Palmar complex, a Maya ruin near the borders of Belize and Guatemala. When researchers ascended the staircase, they found a ritual platform, which housed the 1,300-year-old remains of a former Maya diplomat named Ajpach’ Waal. Now, experts have finally finished excavations at the ancient archaeological site.
As Ashley Cowie reports for Ancient Origins, skeletal fragments and on-site hieroglyphics show that the Maya ambassador suffered from a number of health problems, such as childhood illness and dental issues, and facilitated a pact between two rivaling dynasties, though his efforts ultimately failed. Tsukamoto, who is a professor of anthropology at University of California, Riverside, and Jessica I. Cerezo-Román, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma, published their findings in the journal Latin American Antiquity last month.
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