As well as the buildings and monuments,
100,000 tools, ceremonial objects, personal ornaments, and other
items have been unearthed. These smaller object give a more intimate
picture of the texture of ancient Mayan life. The humbler residences
found at Tikal have told us a lot about the ordinary Maya. The
houses at Tikal were typically arranged in clusters around a central
plaza. Most people were buried beneath the houses they had lived
in. Along with the bodies were ritual objects that seemed to have
daily life uses as well. The ceramics that have been unearthed
at Tikal are especially fine.
The heart of Tikal is the Great Plaza. The plaza is surrounded
the two largest temples, and to the north is a cluster of temples
known as the North Acropolis. The Temple of the Giant Jaguar is
especially notable. It was named after a motif on one of its lintels.
Built in AD 870, it towers 145 feet above the Great Plaza. Tombs
are riddled beneath and inside the structure. There are a couple
of temple complexes at Tikal that are resonate as a group, even
if the individual buildings are not especially spectacular. These
complexes have been given such evocative names as the Lost World
Complex, the Plaza of the Seven Temples, the Twin Pyramid Complex,
and the Acropolis.
Tikal is reachable by plane from Belize City or by overland traffic
(bus, coach) from San Ignacio or any location in the Cayo district..
Flores is the closest town in Guatemala. You can find lodgings
within the National Park. You can also charter a plane for a one-day
visit from Belize.