Mayan Murals Found By Guatemala Family Renovating Home; Murals Date Back Centuries

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A family in Guatemala was scraping the walls in their home to prepare for a renovation when they found Mayan murals that were painted there hundreds of years ago. The pictures underneath the plaster in the family's kitchen hadn't been seen in centuries, according to National Geographic.

Archaeologist Jaroslaw Zralka told National Geographic the images seem to depict people walking in a procession wearing a mix of Spanish and Mayan clothing. Some might be carrying human hearts. You can find a slideshow of the mural's paintings by clicking here.

Boston University archaeologist William Saturno told the New York Daily News the figures in the pictures could be doing a "so-called conquest dance."

"We don't get a lot of this type of artwork; it's not commonly preserved in the New World," Saturno told the Daily News. He also added the home likely was a significant one for the ancient Mayans.

"It's unlikely to be just Joe Schmo's house - it's probably an important person's house," Saturno told the Daily News.  

In the short time the art has been exposed, it has already faded greatly.

The Mayans are known for their monumental architecture, their advances in mathematics and astronomy and, perhaps most fittingly, their art.

This story follows the news that the ancient Mayans, whose fate had previously been unknown, were found to have left the Yucatan peninsula because a drought had left them desperate for food. A major factor in the Mayan collapse was the huge number of trees cut down to clear land for agriculture and to construct their elaborate buildings. The deforestation led to more solar radiation, which in turn led to less water evaporation making rain scarce.

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