The frieze was on one side of a staircase tomb that was inside a pyramid built by the later rulers of the site. Painted red, with details in blue, yellow and green, it depicts three men wearing bird headdresses and jade jewels seated cross-legged over the head of a mountain spirit. It is likely a depiction of the crowning of a new ruler at the site around the year 590, according to Estrada-Belli, whose team’s effort were supported by the National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program. “We did not have the details of the ceremonies to install a new king as we have here, until now,” he says.
Story: Dan Vergano, USA Today | Photo: Alexandre Tokovinine Harvard University/Proyecto Arqueologico Holmul