Archeologists say bones and other items indicate a massacre that was key to the civilization's fall.
By Thomas H. Maugh II Times Staff Writer
Archeologists excavating the ruined Guatemalan city of Cancuen have stumbled across the remains of what they believe is one of the pivotal events in the collapse of the Maya civilization — the desperate defense of the once-great trading center and the ritual execution of at least 45 members of its royal court.
An enemy as yet unknown not only wiped out the royal dynasty about AD 800, but systematically eliminated religious and cultural artifacts — in effect, killing the city and leaving it abandoned to the elements, according to new research announced Wednesday.
The archeological team found dozens of remarkably preserved skeletons piled in mass graves, as well as other artifacts, indicating what the lead researcher described as "a war crimes scene."Original article with pictures
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