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Piedras Negras, Guatemala

Piedras Negras is the modern name for a ruined city of the Pre-Columbian Maya civilization located on the north bank of the Usumacinta River[?] in the Peten department of Guatemala. The name "Piedras Negras" means "Black Stones" in the Spanish language.

Piedras Negras seems to have been an independent city-state for most of the Classic Period, although sometimes in alliance with other states of the region and perhaps paying tribute to others at times. It had an alliance with Yaxchilan, some 40 km up river. Ceramics show the site was occupied from about 650 BC[?] to 850 AD. Its most impressive period of sculpture and architecture dated from about 608 through 810, although there is some evidence that Piedras Negras was already a city of some importance earlier. The artistry of the sculpture of the late classic period of Piedras Negras is considered particularly fine.

An archeological project at Piedras Negras was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania from 1931 to 1939. Further archeological work here was conducted from 1997 to 1999 by Instituto de Antropología e Historia de Guatemala (IDAEH). Mayanist Tatiana Prouskourikoff was the first to decypher the names and dates of a Maya dynasty from her work with the monuments at this site. By her request, Prouskourikoff was buried here after he death.



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