Mayan civilization might have been discovered after its extinction in 900 AD. (Photo : Reuters)
The Mayan sun god has been found, in a newly discovered temple in Guatemala. The Temple of the Night Sun depicts the sun god as blood drinker, jaguar, and shark.
Archeologists, such as Stephen Houston of Brown University, were working on an area near the ancient city of El Zotz, Guatemala, and discovered the 45-foot-tall Diablo Pyramid. At the pyramid, they found a palace and a tomb that is believed to hold the city's first ruler.
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During this discovery, Houston and fellow archaeologists slowly began to notice the Temple of the Night Sun, behind the Diablo Pyramid.
According to National Geographic, three five-foot-tall masks.
The first mask is shark-like, likely a reference to the sun rising from the Caribbean from the east. The second mask is the "noonday sun" is represented as an ancient being with crossed eyes that drank blood. The final sequence of the masks resembles the local jaguars, which awake from their jungle catnaps at sunset.
Houston noted that in the Mayan culture, the sun is associated with new beginnings and the sun god with kingship.
"Houston's hypothesis is likely correct that the building was dedicated to the sun as a deity closely linked to ruler-ship. The Diablo Pyramid will certainly advance our knowledge of Early Classic Maya religion and ritual practice," said Mayan archaeologist David Freidel to National Geographic.
The masks were also found to have their mouths and noses disfigured, which is not alarming according to Houston.
"It's very hard to find any Mayan depiction of the king that doesn't have its eyes mutilated or its nose hacked...but 'mutilation' is not the appropriate term to describe it. I see it as more of a deactivation," said Houston. "It's as if they're turning the masks off in preparation for replicating them in subsequent layers ... It's not an act of disrespect. It's quite the opposite."
Houston does show bewilderment that the temple appears to have been discarded by the fifth century.
"It's like they just dropped their tools and left," said Houston. "I think what you're looking at is the death of a dynasty."
The archaeologists believe more to the temple can be uncovered.