A scarlet temple emblazoned with the likeness of a blood-drinking god may sound like something from an H. Rider Haggard or Robert E. Howard story, but that’s what scientists seem to have stumbled upon in the jungles of Guatemala:
The noonday sun is depicted as an ancient being with crossed eyes who drank blood, and a final series of masks resemble the local jaguars, which awake from their jungle slumbers at dusk.
In Maya culture the sun is closely associated with new beginnings and the sun god with kingship, Houston explained. So the presence of solar visages on a temple next to a royal tomb may signify that the person buried inside was the founder of a dynasty—El Zotz’s first king.
Read more – and watch an amazing video – at National Geographic.