Subj: Ancient Mayan City Discovered
Date: 5/16/00 5:45:35 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: (New Millennium)

Ancient Mayan City Discovered

Associated Press
May 14, 2000; 7:11 p.m. EDT

GUATEMALA CITY –– Guatemalan archaeologists have unearthed the initial
remains of what they believe to be a Mayan city as large as the
sprawling, majestic ruins of the country's famous Tikal site.

A team of national scientists uncovered the "El Pajaral" ruins in the
northern Guatemalan state of Peten late last week. The city is from the
post-classic period, and is between 670 to 800 years old, said Salvador
Lopez, who headed up the effort.

Lopez, who could not be reached for comment Sunday, told Guatemala
City's Siglo Veintiuno newspaper that it could take several years before
all of what El Pajaral has to offer is uncovered.

Tikal, 40 miles northwest of the new site, rivals other great Mayan ruin
sites such as Mexico's Chichen Itza and Honduras' Copan. It has
attracted international scientists and tourists for decades because of
its breathtaking temples – some of which are more than 150 feet high.

But Lopez said preliminary research has revealed that El Pajaral may
contain ceremonial temples and other structures taller than Tikal's.

Though their work has been slowed by the start of the rainy season,
Lopez said his team already has discovered two imposing ceremonial
plazas and 13 buildings nearly 25 feet high, only three of which remain

American archaeologist Ian Graham started excavating El Pajaral in the
1970s. But his work was limited because he did not have the backing of
Guatemalan authorities, denying him access to decades of research, Lopez

That research, Lopez said, enabled his team to uncover the new city,
whose buildings are buried under centuries of dirt and brush.

The excavation area, in dense mountain forest near the municipality of
La Libertad, 130 miles northeast of Guatemala City, was extremely
difficult to excavate because of its altitude, Lopez said.