San Salvador – At least 160 fragments of sculptures, possibly jaguars, were discovered by specialists in the archaeological park of Cihuatán, located in central El Salvador, the Culture Secretariat said.
The remains come from "five or six feline sculptures," found along with pieces of two censers, the secretariat said in a statement.
Archaeologists of the secretariat and of El Salvador's private National Archaeology Foundation, or FUNDAR, made the discoveries during excavations carried out between February and May but not announced until now, officials said.
The fragments were found in a structure built against the perimetric wall of the Cihuatán ceremonial center, a site of Mayan origin located some 36 kilometers (22 miles) from Aguilares, a town north of San Salvador.
The sculptures could have been of jaguars, though the fragments do not show the spots characteristic of their skin, FUNDAR archaeologist Paul Amaroli said.
The remains are in the process of cleaning, identification, analysis and restoration for their subsequent exhibition in the National Anthropology Museum in San Salvador, the secretariat said.
The park at Cihuatán has an expanse of some 73 hectares (180 acres).
"It is estimated that Cihuatán was occupied between 1000 and 1200 A.D., and that its first inhabitants came from central Mexico, where they had abandoned their villages after the Mayan collapse," the secretariat said.