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Oldest Mayan art discovered

By imrdkl in Culture
Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 06:50:15 PM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

Last year, quite by luck, an archeologist named William Saturno discovered what has now been deemed the oldest intact Mayan fresco ever found, according to National Geographic, who is also funding the excavation of the Guatamalan site.


As the story goes, Saturno was resting (mostly from the heat) near the site about a year ago, and took shelter in a looters tunnel that had been dug into the structure. He happened to look up and noticed this mural, which is about 18 sq. meters, and then "just started laughing".

He rushed back to the States, got some funds, and started paying to keep looters away from the site, while he put together an emergency excavation expedition (with the help of National Geographic).

While Mayan culture produced their finest and most well-known works during the period 250-950 AD, this painting has been dated to 100 AD, and will provide important new information into the "Preclassic period of the Maya", about which less is understood.

The site, long ago raided by looters for artifacts that could be carried away, is called "San Bartolo", and lies in a sector of Guatamala where Mayans are believed to have lived from about 2000 bc, until 250 AD. It will continue to be excavated for more insight into the early days of the Mayan empire.

The Washington Post also has an article on this interesting find.

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Oldest Mayan art discovered | 20 comments (8 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
They look a liitle Roman (4.00 / 2) (#13)
by Wateshay on Fri Mar 15, 2002 at 09:21:48 PM EST

I find it interesting that the frescos look very similar to Roman frescos of the same period. Of course, it is admittedly a very small picture of a very small chunk. Still somewhat interesting.

"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."


roman? (3.00 / 2) (#15)
by lucid on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 10:44:32 AM EST

It looks more Egyptian to me, maybe its just the colors.

Of course, I know jack about art, all of that stuff looks about the same to me. Really, only one or two paintings have ever really done anything for me, and fewer photographs, so take my art opinions very lightly.

[ Parent ]

aztecs and mayans (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by sykmind on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 01:20:12 PM EST

there seems to be a distinct similarity between this piece and early Aztec art. I can see the relationship you might see with the Egyptian art also. It's interesting how two completely groups of people can produce something so similar with no contact.

[ Parent ]
Honest! (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by EriKZ on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 10:18:32 AM EST

Yeah, I bet he "Just happened to be resting in the looters tunnel"

If you want to learn about the Maya (4.00 / 2) (#17)
by danny on Sat Mar 16, 2002 at 07:00:51 PM EST

I recommend The Lost Chronicles of the Maya Kings - which is actually a nice general introduction to Maya society and history. I think UCP has just brought out a paperback, too.

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]

South and Central American civilizations (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by murklamannen on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 04:02:24 AM EST

I recently read that when Cortés and his conquistadors came to central america and met the Aztecs, they were astounded by the Aztec capital, which housed 0.25 million people, double the síze of any European city at the time.

Even if i knew that these civilizations were advanced i had no idea they were superior to the west in many ways (but not in war obviously).

Superiority (2.00 / 1) (#19)
by bodrius on Sun Mar 17, 2002 at 01:56:15 PM EST

It's not exactly clear they were inferior in war either. They were clearly inferior, however, to the Europeans inmunology systems.

The Europeans didn't exactly fight them at their best moment. They were very much aided by the diseases they had released upon the locals, the uprisings they caused among subdued tribes, and civil wars that just happened to be taking place at that time (in the case of the Incas in South America, for example).
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
Where the incas are concerned (2.00 / 1) (#20)
by aphrael on Mon Mar 18, 2002 at 06:11:33 PM EST

it was particularly poor timing; the Spanish captured one of the participants in the civil war, and then had him executed after he arranged to have his opponent killed. That execution basically caused the inca state to collapse.

[ Parent ]
Oldest Mayan art discovered | 20 comments (8 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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