The pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site of Ixkun, modern-day department of Peten, Guatemala.
"I reached Dolores in March 1887, after a rough journey through the forest from Cajabon; and although I had been told about Ixkun some years before by the Jefe Politico of Peten, I was surprised to find that very few of the villages knew of the existence of the runs, and it was some time before anyone could be found to guide me to the site."
-Alfred Maudslay, British explorer and archaeologist, and one of the first Europeans to study Maya ruins. All italicized text in this post are segments from his accounts of exploring Ixkun (via ‘Archæology, Volumes 1-2’, Alfred Maudslay & J. T. Goodman, University of Oklahoma Press, 1889).
Human occupation of Ixkun appears to date from the Preclassic (ca. 200 CE), and peaked during the Late Classic (ca. 600-900). This large site includes a number of stelae adorned with writing in the Maya script.
"There are several carved monoliths which formally stood on the level ground in front of the buildings, but most of them are overturned and partly destroyed."
The largest of these stelae is known as ‘Ixtun Stela 1’, as shown in the second and third photos.
“The carving on the monument represents two Maya priests of chieftains, which elaborate head-dresses and ornaments, standing facing each other above a hieroglyphic inscription. […] In the lower panels [see photo 3] are two unadorned crouching human figures, with their necks and arms bound with ropes, evidently meant to represent prisoners trodden under foot by the two gorgeously arrayed figures standing above them. The marked difference in physiognomy between the Mayas and their captives is clearly shown, and this monument may celebrate the conquest of the aboriginal inhabitants of the land or the defeat of some barbarous invaders from the north whom some writers believe to have fully caused the overthrow of the Maya civilization.”
Photos courtesy & taken by Simon Burchell via the Wiki Commons.