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Thursday, October 4

Archaeologists believe that the royal tomb of Lady K’abel, a late seventh-century queen, has been discovered in Guatemala in the Classic Maya city of El Perú-Waka’. Lady K’abel was a Maya Holy Snake Lord and a supreme warlord, making her the most powerful person in the kingdom during her lifetime. The tomb was found in an area known for its shrines, altars, and offerings, and was identified by an alabaster vessel carved with the head and arm of an elderly woman and four glyphs claiming it as Lady K’able’s possession. “In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense that the people of Waka’ buried her in this particularly prominent place in their city,” said expedition leader David Freidel of the University of Washington in St. Louis. This tomb is one of only five Maya tombs whose occupant has been identified.

Excavations at Zominthos, a Minoan settlement in the mountains of Crete, have uncovered a 3,500-year-old building that was probably leveled by an earthquake. It was two or three stories tall, and had as many as 80 luxurious rooms. The building probably served as a summer residence and administrative center for local leaders. Artifacts from the site include copper and ivory ornaments, a scepter decorated with snakes, a copper cup, and two copper statues.

Pakistan is struggling to protect its archaeological resources from looters. Many of those sites are from the Gandhara kingdom, which flourished in the Swat Valley in the isolated, northwestern section of the country. “We are facing a serious problem because Pakistan is a vast country, and we have very meager resources,” said Fazal Dad Kakar, head of the department of archaeology and museums. Penalties for looting are a maximum of a year in prison and an $800 fine.

In southeastern London, more than 500 skeletons dating to the medieval period have been unearthed at a construction site where a recreation center and swimming pool will be built. “The churchyard is likely to have been here since at least 1086, if not earlier,” said archaeologist Chris Constable. Another 500 bodies had been removed from the cemetery in the late nineteenth century during road construction.

A mass grave has been found near the Polish village of Dworzysko. Researchers suspect that the victims, who appear to have been shot in the back of the head, may have been members of the National Armed Forces, a Polish group that resisted communist rule from the end of World War II until 1956.

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