Lost King of the Maya
Legend states that King Yax K’uk Mo’s spirit haunts a valley deep in the jungles of Honduras in Central America. For over a decade, scientists searched unsuccessfully for the remains of this alleged first king. Finally they made a startling discovery that revealed the lost history of Copan. In this NOVA documentary, watch how each new archeological finding paints a clearer picture of this ancient city and its founder.
In 1839 two young explorers stumbled upon the ruins of an ancient Mayan city – a lost civilization. This one discovery lead them to embark on a number of expeditions starting in Chiapas, Mexico and going all the way down to Central America. They discovered 44 Mayan cities that gave evidence of an advanced culture that had flourished for many centuries.
Yax K’uk Mo was said to have been the founder of Copan, one such city. Recent archeological evidence is making this “myth” more and more real. As scientists study the minutiae of the remains that have been found and compare them to the information that’s already available, they discover many details about Yax K’uk Mo.
Perhaps what has helped archeologists the most is a single ancient monument that provides a pictorial summary of the dynastic sequence itself. They named it Altar Q. This altar is the ultimate symbol of the continuation of Yax K’uk Mo’s regime. Around the four sides of this square-shaped rock we find the portraits of sixteen individuals seated on hieroglyphs. The figures themselves are all very similar, but there are some important differences in their costumes. After closer observation, it was easy to interpret Altar Q as a visual list of the kings of Copan.
Watch this documentary to reveal the mystery that archeologists have uncovered surrounding the Mayan city of Copan.