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GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Buried in a tunnel deep in Guatemala's northern jungle, archeologists have uncovered the final and most elaborate wall of a 2,000-year-old Mayan mural, likened to the Vatican's Sistine Chapel by its finder.
Archeologist William Saturno, of the University of New Hampshire, first discovered the sacred mural in the ruins of the city of San Bartolo in 2001 and this year excavated the "crown jewel" of the painting.
The wall proves that the ancient Maya, known for their prowess in astronomy and mathematics, employed the same royal coronation rites for some 800 years.
Nearby, archaeologists led by Guatemalan Monica Pellecer Alecio found the oldest known Maya royal burial, from around 150 B.C. Excavating beneath a small pyramid, that team found a burial complex that included ceramic vessels and the bones of a man, with a jade plaque — the symbol of Maya royalty — on his chest.