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Maya, lords of the snake. Religion and discussion. Between the sixth and seventh centuries A.D., a bold and ambitious dynasty gave birth to the most powerful political alliance of Mayan history. 

The view of the ancient city of Holmul is not very good. The inexperienced observer sees only a series of steep hills covered by forest in the middle of the jungle of northern Guatemala, near the Mexican border. In the basin of the Peten jungle, it is dense and warm, but also drier than you might imagine. It is also quieter, if not for the noise of the cicadas and the occasional cries of howler monkeys. Looking closer you can see, however, that these hills are arranged mostly in large circles, as travelers huddled around a fire on a cold night. And looking a bit better it turns out that they are made of cut stone, with carved into the sides of the tunnel. It is not a question of hills but the ancient pyramids abandoned at the time of the collapse of the Mayan civilization, more than 1,000 years ago. Holmul was a prosperous settlement during the Classic Period (250-900 A.D.) when the culture and writing Maya flourished in southern Mexico and Central America regions. They were also times of political upheaval, with two warring city-state of perpetual conflict to assert their supremacy. For a short time, one of these two cities took over and became the capital of the closest thing to an empire ever created in the history of the Maya. The city was ruled by kings of the Serpent, members of Kaanul dynasty, unknown until a few years ago. Thanks to the study of sites around this city-state, including Holmul Today archaeologists are reconstructing the history of the Snake kings. Holmul, smallest and least popular of the nearby Tikal, was almost ignored by archaeologists until 2000, when he arrived Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Guatemalan archaeologist born in Italy, with matted hair and laid back attitude. He was not looking for anything beautiful, as monuments with inscriptions or rich burials, but wanted to learn more about the origin of the Mayan culture. One of the first things he found, a few kilometers from the center Holmul, was a building decorated with remnants of murals depicting soldiers on a pilgrimage to a distant place. Strangely much of the wall had been destroyed by the Maya themselves as if they wanted to erase history he remembered. Wanting to understand why Estrada-Belli dug tunnels in several nearby pyramids. The ancient Mesoamerican built their pyramids on each other, like Russian dolls. When the inhabitants of Holmul added a new building preservation the one below, which allowed researchers to dig the tunnel and see the oldest structures as they were left by their builders.

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To open the video click on the image, good view from your Alessandro Brizzi.



Maya, lords of the snake. Religion and discussion.