An international group of archaeologists has found a carved limestone altar at the Maya site of La Corona, located in jungle forest of the Petén in Guatemala.
The altar is made of limestone and measures 4.8 feet by 3.9 feet (1.46 m by 1.2 m).
It displays the image of previously unknown Maya king, Chak Took Ich’aak, carrying a double-headed serpent effigy from which the site’s patron gods emerge.
It is accompanied by a column of hieroglyphs that record the end of a half-katun period in the Long Count Maya calendar corresponding to May 12, 544 CE.
The discovery of this altar presents new evidence for how the powerful Kaanul dynasty began its two-century domination of much of the lowland Maya region.
“The discovery allows us to identify an entirely new king of La Corona who apparently had close political ties with the capital of the Kaanul kingdom, Dzibanche, and with the nearby city of El Peru-Waka,” said Dr. Marcello A. Canuto, director of the Middle American Research Institute at Tulane University and co-director of the La Corona Regional Archaeological Project.
“For several centuries during the Classic period, the Kaanul kings dominated much of the Maya Lowlands,” said Dr. Tomas Barrientos, director of the Center for Archaeological and Anthropological Research at the University of the Valley of Guatemala and co-director of the La Corona Regional Archaeological Project.
“This altar contains information about their early strategies of expansion, demonstrating that La Corona played an important role in the process from the beginning.”
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