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Archeologists have discovered a tomb in Guatemala that may belong to one of the rulers who bridged the gap between the Olmec and Maya empires. Located approximately one hundred miles south of Guatemala City, carbon-dating indicates the burial site was likely built between 700 and 400 BC, just as the Olmec empire was beginning to decline and the Maya empire was beginning to come into its own. If the dates prove accurate, it would make it one of the oldest Maya tombs ever discovered.
According to BBC, numerous jewels and a necklace found in the tomb indicate its inhabitant possessed great wealth, and a vulture-headed figure among the property marked him as a man of great prominence and importance, most likely a chief. Consequently, he’s been named K’utz Chman, or Grandfather Vulture.
Archelogists and historians have spent years trying to learn about the forces that pushed the Olmec empire down and the Maya empire into great prominence. We’ll likely never know exactly who K’utz Chman was or what he contributed, but there’s a very strong possibility he played an extremely important role in shaping Central America.
Experts are planning to continue studying the tomb and the surrounding area. Hopefully, they’ll be able to find more clues as to the trajectory of the two civilizations. If they do, well be sure to bring you the news. If they don’t, you can bet the archeologists will keep looking in other places.