A Maya Masterpiece Revealed

  • By Peter Tyson
  • Posted 01.09.07
  • NOVA

In March 2001, archeologist Bill Saturno, eager to find shade and rest after a grueling trek through northern Guatemala in search of Maya hieroglyphics, crawled down a looter's trench into the base of an ancient, jungle-covered Maya structure. Finding himself in darkness, he casually switched on his flashlight—and that is when he discovered a masterpiece of early Maya art, which includes some of the earliest and most enigmatic Maya glyphs yet found. The colorful mural graces a long-buried room predating the time of Christ, one of many structures in a site now known as San Bartolo. In this interactive, explore the mural room's 14-foot-wide North Wall through archeological illustrator Heather Hurst's stunning color rendering.

Launch Interactive

Explore a 2,000-year-old mural, one of the most exciting recent discoveries of early Maya art.



(San Bartolo original mural detail)
© William Saturno, Proyecto San Bartolo
(San Bartolo color rendering)
Created by Heather Hurst, © William Saturno, Proyecto San Bartolo

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  • Cracking the Maya Code

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  • Decode Stela 3

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