Tayasal, in the north of Guatemala, is the last Mayan city that resisted the conquest of the Europeans.
Ceramic pieces, human burials and lead bullets from Spanish arquebuses were found by archaeologists in a new excavation project in Tayasal Park, northern Guatemala, the last Mayan city that resisted the conquest of the Europeansreported those responsible for the project.
Excavations in the park began last June to investigate the “long occupation” of this city whose inhabitants settled in 900 BC, during the Mayan Preclassic period, Suarlin Cordova, responsible for the exploration, told AFP.
The park is located in the municipality of Flores, about 500 kilometers north of Guatemala Cityin the department of Petén, border with Mexico.
Cordova explained that the peculiarity of Tayasal or “place of the Itza”is that it was the last city in the Mayan region to yield to the Spanish conquest in 1697, a century after the Europeans entered the western highlands of what is now Guatemala.
“More than 100 years passed in which the northern part of Guatemala was totally outside the Spanish domain and this happens mainly because the jungle functioned as a natural border that made the arrival of the Spaniards to these places rough,” he specified.
In addition, in 1525 Tayasal was part of the route used by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés on his journey to present-day Honduras.
Most of the buildings, squares and platforms in the place are underground and the vegetation in a perimeter of seven km2 and surrounded by Lake Petén Itza.
Among the partially exposed structures is the 30-meter-high acropolis, which according to research functioned as the residence of the ruling elite. A water pool used since pre-Hispanic times is also visible.
One of the objectives of the research is repower the site so that the tourist “appreciates” the sites to discover in this vast region of Mayan archaeological sites, added Jenny Barrios, director of Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.
The Mayan culture had its greatest splendor in the so-called classic period (250-900 AD), until it entered into decline in the post-classic period (900-1200 AD) and covered the Mesoamerican area that includes southern Mexico, Guatemala , El Salvador, Honduras and Belize.