Beyond ''Apocalypto'': What Maya Empire Looked Like

Beyond Apocalypto -- What Maya Empire Looked Like
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In an artist's conception, eighth-century Maya ruler Tan Te' K'inich is shown holding a torch. The last ruler of the Dos Pilas-Aguateca dynasty, he and his attendants are scrambling to hide sacred items in a cache as enemies approach. Later killed in a fiery battle, he would never return to the hiding place.

Tan Te' K'inich's city of Aguateca, in what is now Guatemala, was eventually sacked, burned, and abandoned by its residents. Even so, the site is rich with artifacts offering clues to daily Maya life.

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Illustration by Christopher Klein
 
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