Archaeologists from the United States and Guatemala made an interesting discovery while on a dig in the northern Guatemalan department of Petén.

The researchers came across a piece of carved stone dating back nearly 1,450 years, a period known as civilization’s “dark age” when it was originally thought that no form of writing had existed. 

The monument, named El Perú Stela 44, has hieroglyphics on the sides and back with an eroded image of a king on the front.

After translating the hieroglyphics it was revealed that it was dedicated on January 25, AD 564 and tells the story of the rise to power of a Mayan princess in a brutal, back-and-forth battle between two familial dynasties.

“Great rulers took pleasure in describing adversity as a prelude to ultimate success. Here the Snake queen, Lady Ikoom, prevailed in the end,” said research director Prof David Freidel from Washington University in St. Louis, according to sci-news.com. “Stela 44’s tales of political intrigue and bloodshed are just a few of the many dramatic stories of Classic Maya history that have been recovered through the decipherment of Maya glyphs, a science that has made great strides in the last 30 years.”

The pre-Columbian Maya archeological site where the stone carving was discovered is called El Peru –Waka’ and located about 60 miles west of the famed Tikal archeological site. The site is open to the public, but is very difficult to reach since it sits atop an escarpment in the Laguna del Tigre National Park, about six kilometers north of the San Pedro River.

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