Shells and Society at Tikal, Guatemala


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Archaeology is the study of the human past. In the field you will have the opportunity to go places such as Tikal Guatemala. Places like Tikal you will be able to find pieces of artifacts that belonged to the civilization that have lived in the past, discover structures, be able to do your own excavation. When doing so we will be discovering and understanding the past.

Tikal is located, North of Guatemala now considered a jungle. During 200 to 900 A. D Tikal was an important city in the empire . At first Tikal was a just a city, were years later it has expanded its power and land by taking over other cities that would later become as one city. The people were discovered that lived at Tikal were known to be a civilization of Mayans. Records have been found that Mayans were located at all part of Central America, which gives a better explanation of the different civilizations, Mayan people settled at all parts of Central America that there was never just one civilization . Just as any powerful empires written in history, they will collapse sooner or later. Historians believe the fall of the empire was due to lack of food, disease, climate change. The last written record during that era was in 869A.D and historians believe the city was abandoned to relocate and be able to start a new living.

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In archaeology names John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood are well known explorers in the archaeology field, based on the studies they both conducted when exploring Tikal. John Lloyd Stephens a lawyer from New York, traveled the world. Frederick Catherwood was a well-known architect, and both John and Frederick were interested on wanting to know information of Tikal, that they both traveled together to explore the abandoned city. Both John and Stephens discovered many details of the Mayan civilization and it temples, that they both recorded all the information and drew the sites they would see in order to get a better detail such hieroglyphics written on temples Based on the information they have uncovered; the Mayan civilization became to be recognized as one of the greatest produced by the ancient world.

The Mayan civilization located in Tikal, considered that the civilization was ahead of its time based on the materials that were used in order to build the architecture. According to Mark Cartwright “Tikal-Ancient History” the Mayans used limestone blocks around rubble cored with lintels and crossbeams in wood. Tikal’s civilization were big believer in gods, where they demonstrated it in architecture, were many temples that were discovered in Tikal that are known today as Temple I, Temple II, and the North Acropolis, were each of the building were built in a specific way based on what they believed in. The most common features that were used were the multi-level pyramids, raised platforms, orbed-vaulted chambers, large stucco masks of gods with staircases and a calculated preference with the heavens . Each tomb that was found in one of the temples all have murals in order to be considered the ruler during its time was a god. Other temples that were discovered include Central Acropolis, mostly used for rituals, Mundo Perdido Complex where the purpose behind building it in still unknown, and the temples I, II, IV where each temple was made for each king that was in charge.

When archaeologists go to a destination, they will conduct an archaeological field work. Archaeological field work is an important process because it would help have a better understanding of the past and in this case a better understanding of Tikal, the Mayan civilization. The first thing to do is finding a location where you can be able to do excavations, and while do so you will fall upon artifacts that you will have to record, and be able to get a good description based on it. Many different types of artifacts were found at Tikal, thousands of mariner shells, shell artifacts and fragments were also discovered during the excavations at Tikal. Moholy stated the shell artifacts weren’t just located in one place that it was distributed throughout the city that mostly everyone had them. Archeologists has also discovered evidence of burial of leaders of the Mayan empire, hieroglyphic records have also been discovered which help to get a better understanding on what occurred during this era.

During time where Tikal was first found, you can tell technology has improved tremendously. Now a days many machines such as LiDAR a light detection light help archaeologists by using lasers from an airplane view of a ground it could a rainforest, or a dessert where the LiDAR will give an overall view of the landscape and be able to show all of the features that is not able to be seen in person. The LiDar machine was used on Tikal, were many professional archaeologists were in shocked on what they discovered at the site. Based on the new discoveries many people had questions about the site. An archaeologist who was there when the Lidar machine was used and discussed that the laser technology discovered about 60,000 homes, places, tombs that were hidden underneath in the jungle . With the new information that has been discovered, all the other information that was recorded needs to be looked at it again and see if anything needs to be changes with the new information that was found.

Therefore, archaeology can recover missing information about the destination just like Tikal. Today, Tikal Guatemala today is currently a popular tourist attraction in Guatemala where many people around the world will come to visit the big architecture, and learn the history about it, but also considered a special for discovery where with the methods and new technology archaeologists care able to use to understand more about the past.

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