From the New York Times:
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD, November 17, 2005
Archaeologists and forensic experts in Guatemala have made a grisly discovery among the ruins of an ancient Maya city, Cancuén.
In explorations during the summer, they found as many as 50 skeletons in a sacred pool and other places, victims of murder and dismemberment in a war that destroyed the city and, it seems, served as a beginning of the collapse of the classic period of the Maya civilization ... [read on ...]
The remains of a Maya king, Kan Maax, who was killed about A.D. 800 in Cancuén with dozens of his royal associates and courtiers. Despite the puzzling slaughter, the bodies were treated with respect ...
Arthur A. Demarest, an archaeologist at Vanderbilt University who directed the excavations, described the discovery yesterday in an announcement by the National Geographic Society and in an interview by telephone from Guatemala City. [click here for the NGS web press release]
"This is probably the most important thing I've ever discovered," said Dr. Demarest, who has explored Maya ruins since the 1980's ...
By murdering the elite and placing their broken bodies in the ceremonial waters, Dr. Demarest speculated, the conquerors were "killing the city ritually" ...
The king, Kan Maax, was buried in full regalia and a necklace bearing his name and title. He was the son of Cancuén's greatest ruler, Taj Chan Ahk, who had died in 795.
"What we have here is a shift in studies of the Maya collapse," Dr. Demarest said. "Broad theories are being replaced by specifics turned up by archaeology."