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date: 20 November 2019


  • Elizabeth P. Benson
  •  and Trent Barnes


Site of Pre-Columbian Maya city in the lowland forests of northern Petén, Guatemala. It flourished c. 150 bcc. ad 150, but parts were also used in later periods. Survey and excavation work indicates that its centre measured c. 16 sq. km, making it the largest known concentration of Maya civic and religious structures. Its acropoleis were surmounted by immense platforms, plazas, and other buildings. Such monumental structures were commonly constructed of cut-stone block masonry, plastered over and ornamented with stucco masks of Maya gods. According to Ray T. Matheny and others, Mirador provides evidence that such Pre-Classic Maya cities were the focus of early states that rivalled later, Classic period (c. ad 250–c. 900) Maya civilization. The creation of a city as immense as Mirador would certainly have required strong and complex social controls to produce the architects and artisans and to mobilize the necessary workforce and supplies....

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