May 19, 2020

Top 10 Unexpected Discoveries Involving Tombs

8 min
The Jester God

In Guatemala, a surprise find under a Mayan home adjusted the history books. In 2008, diggers at the archaeological site of K’o found a trapdoor leading to a storage room. Awaiting them was a man who had died in his fifties. Surrounding him was a collection of pottery. One piece, an incense burner, changed everything.

Experts immediately recognized the figure on the vessel. Called the “jester god” for his tassle-like headdress, scholars know him as a symbol of Maya royalty. He started appearing on artwork around 100 BC.

When tests dated the pottery and bones to around 350 BC, it pushed the earliest depiction of the jester and the oldest Maya ruler ever found back by almost two centuries. Perhaps the most groundbreaking shift is how it proves that advanced Mayan civilization began much earlier that previously thought.

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