Archeologists have uncovered a 1,600-year-old Mayan temple dedicated to the “night sun” atop a pyramid tomb in the northern Guatemalan forest near the border with Mexico.
“The sun was a key element of Maya rulership,” lead archeologist Stephen Houston explained in announcing the discovery by the joint Guatemalan and American team that has been excavating the El Zotz site since 2006.
“It’s something that rises every day and penetrates into all nooks and crannies, just as royal power presumably would,” said Houston, a professor at Brown University, Rhode Island.
“This building is one that celebrates this close linkage between the king and this most powerful and dominant of celestial presences.”
Archeologists say the temple was likely built to honor the leader buried under the Diablo Pyramid tomb, the governor and founder of the first El Zotz dynasty called Pa’Chan, or “fortified sky.”