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Ancient tomb of warrior Maya queen discovered in Guatemala

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

A team of archaeologists led by Washington University discovered the tomb of Lady K'abel, one of the great queens of Classic Maya civilisation during excavations of the royal city of El Peru-Waka' in northwestern Peten, Guatemala.

A small, carved alabaster jar found in the burial chamber caused the archaeologists to conclude the tomb was that of K'abel.

The white jar is carved as a conch shell, with a head and arm of an aged woman emerging from the opening.

The depiction of the woman, mature with a lined face and a strand of hair in front of her ear, and four glyphs carved into the jar, point to the jar as belonging to K'abel.

"Based on this and other evidence, including ceramic vessels found in the tomb and stela (large stone slab) carvings on the outside, the tomb is likely that of K'abel," Freidel, professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences and Maya scholar, said.

K'abel, considered the greatest ruler of the Late Classic period, ruled with her husband, K'inich Bahlam, for at least 20 years (672-692 AD), Freidel said in a statement.

She was the military governor of the Wak kingdom for her family, the imperial house of the Snake King, and she carried the title "Kaloomte", translated to "Supreme Warrior", higher in authority than her husband, the king.

K'abel is also famous for her portrayal on the famous Maya stela, Stela 34 of El Peru, now in the Cleveland Art Museum.

First Published: Thu, October 04 2012. 16:45 IST