Archaeologists Disturb Tomb of Badass Mayan Warrior Queen, Prove That Science Has Learned Nothing from Hollywood


Archaeologists chipping away at the amalgam of dust and detritus that cleaves us modern folk from our diminutive, stone-cutting ancestors believe they have uncovered the tomb of the apparently badass seventh-century Mayan warrior queen Lady K’abel, who didn’t just rule with greater authority than her husband for at least 20 years, but is also identified by an epithet that impossibly isn’t straight out of Conan the Barbarian: Maya Holy Snake Lord. Holy blue flaming balls is that cool.

Lady K’abel’s eternal resting resting place — hasn’t anyone seen The Mummy — was disturbed by during excavations of the royal Maya city of El Perú-Waka’ in northwestern Petén, Guatemala, by a team led by David Freidel, co-director of the expedition. Archaeologists found a small, alabaster jar (seriously, there’s Mummy all over this) carved as a conch shell with the head and arm of a decidedly older woman (she appears to have a lined face and strand of hair in front of her ear) emerging from the opening in the tomb, which, along with some other ceramic vessels found on-site, convinced them that both jar and tomb belonged to Lady K’abel. Freidel has said that the discovery is important because newly uncovered tombs are rare finds, and “Classic Maya civilization” offers curious minds “the only ‘classical’ archaeological field in the New World.”

The find was also a little fortuitous, as Freidel’s team was focused on uncovering and studying so-called “ritually-charged” features at El Perú-Waka’ such as shrines. “In retrospect,” Freidel explained, “it makes a lot of sense that the people of Waka’ buried her in this particularly prominent place in their city.” Olivia Navarro-Farr, assistant professor of anthropology at the College of Wooster in Ohio, had been working on the site since she was a doctoral student of Freidel’s and was also extremely interested in the area because the location of the temple had received much reverence and ritual attention in the decades subsequent to the fall of the dynasty at El Perú. In other words, from her primo burial spot, Lady K’abel seems to have been a majorly important historical figure.

“How important?” you ask, stroking your chin inquisitively. Very important. Like Cleopatra but with actual governing responsibilities important, for all those readers whose knowledge of Mayan history (like mine) is informed by only three things: Apocalypto, Q: The Winged Serpent, and a circular stone calendar that people who think that the apocalypse will turn them into awesome superheroes seem to obsess over. K’abel (also famous for her portrayal on a famous Maya stela now snuggled tightly in the Cleveland Art Museum) is considered the greatest ruler of the Late Classic period. She ruled with her husband, K’inich Bahlam for at least 20 years, from about 672-692 AD, and was the military governor of the Wak kingdom for her family, the imperial house of the Snake King, or, in the modern parlance, Head of House for Slytherin. She also boasted the title “Kaloomte,” which may sound like a funny noise one makes with a kazoo but actually means “Supreme Warrior” of the fuck-people-up variety, higher in authority than her husband.

Tomb of Maya warrior queen discovered [Futurity]

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