THE WORLD THIS WEEK
Pre-classic Mayan city
Excavations at a little-known Mayan ruin in Guatemala indicate it was once one of the largest and most sophisticated cities in the pre-classic Mayan world. Archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli of Vanderbilt University and colleagues have been conducting research excavations at the site, called Cival, since 2000, with support from the National Geographic Society. They said the city thrived from about 500 BC to 100 AD, when it was apparently sacked by invaders and then abandoned. “We were extremely fortunate to have found a completely preserved pre-classic city that is not buried by later construction, giving us the rare opportunity to fully explore its architecture, monuments, and the burials,” Estrada-Belli said. Among the items of interest uncovered so far are two large stucco masks associated with the Mayan corn deity.