Almost literally "in the shadow of a giant," El Zotz (anciently Pa'chan, "Fortified Sky" or "Split Sky") is so close to its powerful neighbor Tikal that Temple IV can be seen on the horizon. But there is a substantial wall between the two cities, and El Zotz seems well disposed to Tikal's enemy El Peru. As our research at the site began, El Zotz bore all the marks of a "founded" polity that flourished briefly along a borderland between two larger kingdoms, with its royal court and monumental architecture springing into being at a time of dynastic turbulence in Tikal. But that was before our discovery of a remarkably lavish royal tomb dating to the fourth century AD.

What can the tomb tell us about El Zotz in particular and Maya mortuary practice in general?

Why did El Zotz grow during the Peten hiatus?

Why does Zotz share its paired emblem glyphs with Yaxchilan?

Why are the first supernatural way images found on ceramics from this site?

El Zotz masks yield insights into Maya beliefs

Dramatic New Maya Temple Found