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Tikal – tee-KAHL – (northern Peten region of Guatemala)

A traditional name of unknown meaning, according to William R. Coe. "Place where Spirit Voices are Heard" according to Teobert Maler.  

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Tikal is often referred to as the mother of all Maya sites because it is the largest known Maya center. It was virtually abandoned and was not officially found and reported again until 1848 the Guatemalan government recorded it.  According to William Coe the site center has more then 3,000 separate constructions including temples – five of them more than 125 feet tall – palaces, and shrines.  Over 200 stone monuments consisting of stelea and alters, both carved and plain, were found in the site center.  As many as 10,000 earlier constructions may lie beneath the already identified buildings.  The earliest building at Tikal dates to about 300 BC although occupation has been found to occur even earlier.

Thus far it is believed that Tikal was ruled by a single dynasty throughout its history.  According to L. Schele and D. Freidel there were 39 successive rulers of Tikal.  The site reached its peak in the Late Classic period when there may have been up to 100,000 or more Maya residing in or near the site center.  Numerous polities record the site of Tikal in their monuments and vice versa including Caracol, Uaxactun, Naranjo, and Calakmul.
Tikal main ceremonial center site map1
Tikal 2nd story corbel vault central acropolis1 Tikal main plaza Temple I program led by L Howard1 Tikal Mask from Structure 5D
  Ceiba tree from Tikal National Park  
Tikal access to Temple IV Tikal massive Classic period architecture Temple II1 Tikal massive Classic period architecture Temple II1


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