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King Tut's Face Unveiled

The face of Egypt's most famous ancient ruler, King Tutankhamun, has been put on public display for the first time. Archaeologists took the mummy from its stone sarcophagus and placed it in a climate-controlled case inside his tomb in Luxor's Valley of the Kings. The event comes 85 years to the day after the pharaoh's tomb was discovered by British explorer Howard Carter. Until now, only about 50 living people have seen the face of the boy king, who died more than 3,000 years ago.

Chankillo Solar Observatory
Researchers from Yale and the University of Leicester have identified an ancient solar observatory at Chankillo, Peru, and published the results in an article by Ivan Ghezzi and Clive Ruggles in the March 2 issue of Science. According to Ghezzi: "Archaeological research in Peru is constantly pushing back the origins of civilization in the Americas, In this case, the 2,300 year old solar observatory at Chankillo is the earliest such structure identified and unlike all other sites contains alignments that cover the entire solar year. It predates the European conquests by 1,800 years and even precedes, by about 500 years, the monuments of similar purpose constructed by the Mayans in Central America." More ...
Photograph: The fortified stone temple at Chankillo. (Credit: Courtesy of Peru's National Aerophotographic Service

Chachapoya Ruin Discovered

Archaeologist Keith Muscutt, assistant dean of the arts at UC Santa Cruz, reported the existence of a pre-Columbian ruin in Peru at the annual Institute of Andean Studies conference held at UC Berkeley. The ruin was first discovered by a family of Peruvian peasants in August who relayed the information to Muscutt, an expert on the Chachapoya and author of the 1998 book "Warriors of the Clouds: A Lost Civilization in the Upper Amazon of Peru". They christened the structure Huaca La Penitenciara, or Penitentiary Ruin, because of its imposing impenetrable appearance. The stepped, three-tiered, rectangular building is about 70 metres long, 35 metres wide, and seven metres high.

The Chachapoya were known for building mountaintop citadels such as Kuelap, Gran Pajatén and Vira Vira, and leaving behind well-preserved mummies, which have been recovered from cliff tombs near Peru's Lake of the Condors and Huayabamba Lake. “This is an exciting development for Chachapoya archaeology,” said Muscutt. “With the exception of the colossal retaining wall of the Chachapoya citadel, Kuelap, I can’t think of a Chachapoya engineering project as ambitious as La Penitenciaria. Over 25,000 cubic yards of dressed stone and rubble were needed to build it.”

The Chachapoya was a fierce tribe that resisted the Inca empire before the arrival of European conquistadors in the 16th century. After falling to the Inca, the Chachapoya allied with the Spanish in an attempt to recapture their lands. Instead they succumbed to disease introduced by the Europeans. The discovery raises questions about the extend of the Chachapoya territory, according to Muscutt: "It's totally unexpected that such a massive monument would show up on the periphery of Chachapoya territory, in an area that has usually been thought of as a buffer zone between the highland Chachapoya and the tribal cultures of the Amazon Basin." More ...

Maya Royal Tomb Discovered in Guatemala

On April 29, archaeologist Hector Escobedo of the Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala and graduate student Juan Carlos Melendez uncovered a Maya tomb which might be the resting place of the first ruler of Waka'. The tomb contains a single skeleton lying on a stone bench, jade jewels, and the remains of a jaguar pelt. It lies at the base of the site's largest pyramid, which is about 60 feet (18 meters) tall. David Freidel, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas wrote on his Web site: "This may be the resting place of either the dynasty founder, a man we do not have a history for, or K'inich B'alam the First, the Maya king who allied with Siyaj Ka'k', conqueror of Tikal [a major Maya city] in AD 378." More ...

Japanese researchers discover new Nazca Lines
A previously unknown 65 m long geoglyph has been discovered on the Nazca Plateau by Researchers of the Yamagata University. The image appears to be an animal with horns. It is thought to have been drawn as a symbol of hopes for good crops, but there are no similar patterns elsewhere, and the type of the animal remains unclear. The picture was found by the Japanese researchers after analyzing images from an U.S. commercial satellite. More ...

Background information on the Nazca Culture and it's Geoglyphs.


Ajax' Palace found on Salamis

Ajax is known from Homer's Iliad about the Trojan War where he duels with Hector. Now, Greek archaeologists say they have unearthed the remains of a palace from the 13th Century BC linked to the legendary warrior-king. The Mycenaean-era complex found near the village of Kanakia on the small island of Salamis near Athens covers about 750 sq m (8,070 sq ft).Yannos Lolos, a Greek archaeologist, said the ruins include a large palace, measuring about 8,000 square feet and believed to have been at least four stories high with more than 30 rooms. "This is one of the few cases in which a Mycenaean-era palace can be almost certainly attributed to a Homeric hero," Lolos said. "The complex was found beneath a virgin tract of pine woods on two heights by the coast. All the finds so far corroborate what we see in the Homeric epics." The city of Troy is believed to have fallen about 1180BC - about the same time, according to Mr Lolos, that the palace he has discovered was abandoned and left to crumble. Ajax, therefore, would have been the last king to have lived there before setting off on the 10-year Trojan expedition. Artefacts of Cypriot and Anatolian origin found at the site testified to the ancient city's links with the eastern Mediterranean. A bronze armour fragment found there was stamped with the royal mark of Pharaoh Ramses II of Egypt, who ruled in the 13th Century BC. More ...


Tomb KV63 discovered in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings

A team from the University of Memphis discovered for the first time since Howard Carter’s 1922 discovery a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor. The new tomb is referred to as KV63, previously only 62 tombs were known and it was widely assumed that the famous burrial side was exhausted. KV63 is located in the area between KV10 (Amenmesse) and KV62 (Tutankhamun), in the very centre of the Valley’s eastern branch. The discovery was made by a team from the University of Memphis. The 18th Dynasty tomb included five mummies in intact sarcophagi with colored funerary masks, along with more than 20 large storage jars, sealed with pharaonic seals, Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement. The occupants of the tomb have not yet been identified but it is likely that it belongs to members of 18th Dynasty pharoah's court. More ...

Oldest Known Maya Mural Uncovered
Archaeologists today revealed the final section of the earliest known Maya mural ever found, saying that the find upends everything they thought they knew about the origins of Maya art, writing, and rule.
The painting was the last wall of a room-size mural to be excavated. The site was discovered in 2001 at the ancient Maya city of San Bartolo in the lowlands of northeastern Guatemala. More ...

Photograph by Kenneth Garrett © 2006 National Geographic

Other famous Maya Sites:
Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Palenque, Tikal, Copan


nihi kai