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Maya Sun God Tracing


Tracing of the Maya sun god found on the north side of the Diablo Pyramid

A tracing of an artistic representation of the Maya sun god found on the north side of the Diablo Pyramid at El Zotz, an archaeological site in Guatemala. The pyramid, discovered by a team of archaeologists led by Stephen Houston of Brown University, is believed to celebrate the Maya sun god. The structure's outer walls depict the god in an unprecedented set of images done in painted stucco. The structure is topped by a temple covered in a series of masks depicting different phases of the sun, as well as deeply modeled and vibrantly painted stucco throughout.

The team had previously uncovered a royal tomb filled with artifacts and human remains at the same site. Researchers believe the pyramid was built to link the deceased lord to the eternal sun. "The stuccos provide unprecedented insight into how the Maya conceived of the heavens," said Houston, "how they thought of the sun, and how the sun itself would have been grafted onto the identity of kings and the dynasties that would follow them."

The work at El Zotz has been supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF). To learn more about this discovery, see the Brown University news story El Zotz masks yield insights into Maya beliefs. [Research supported by NSF grant BCS 08-40930] (Date of Image: July 2012)

Credit: Stephen Houston
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