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date: 17 November 2019

Piedras Negraslocked

  • Elizabeth P. Benson

Extract

Site of Pre-Columbian Maya culture on the Usumacinta River, El Petén, Guatemala. It flourished during the Classic period (c.ad 250–c. 900) and is famous for its painted stone sculpture (Guatemala City, Mus. N. Arqueol. & Etnol.). The site was investigated by Teobert Maler in 1895 and by archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania between 1930 and 1939. Tatiana Proskouriakoff made reconstruction drawings of the architecture in the 1950s and studied the various stelae. Limestone stelae, circular altars with carved legs, lintels and ‘thrones’ were carved in a combination of high and low relief, in a fluid, expressive and elegantly detailed style, in contrast to more angular, less detailed sculptures in the central Petén region. Early examples were painted red, but later pieces were polychrome. Motifs from Teotihuacán, in the Mesoamerican Central Highlands, were sometimes used.

While at most Maya sites of the Late Classic period (...

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