In the mid 8th Century, the capital of the Kingdom of Dos Pilas, in south-western Peten in Guatemala was attacked by an enemy. So big was the fear, that some of its inhabitants built barricades using the stones of their own sacred temples and palaces, making of its main plaza, in an area not larger than a football field, a fortress with 3 tiers of palisades. The archaeological evidence at El Duende, a “suburb” of Dos Pilas, is dramatic. Its temple was surrounded by barricades leaving an only entrance where hundreds of spear tips were found. The fortress proved no good. A siege made it fell.
Dos Pilas Royal Family had second home at what is now known as Aguateca. A natural fortress, in an escarpment located between a 200+ feet deep chasm and a cliff that faces a lake. Once again, an attack made its inhabitants build barricades with palisades. And once again, a siege made it fell. Archaeologist Arthur Demarest in a conference in Guatemala City (3/22/07) said that the King was so much in a hurry to leave that he left behind all his treasures.
In an archaeological evidence of desperation, a peninsula in the nearby Petexbatun Lake, a moat was dug out to make of it an island. More earth was moved out of it in a short time than that that was needed to build the enormous Central Acropolis in Tikal in a couple of hundred years! And the moat proved no good.
Upstream the La Pasion River, the Kingdom of Cancuen that had a matrimonial alliance with Dos Pilas Kingdom, the same history repeats. In this case, with the fascinating finding of what seems to be the royal family massacred and “respectfully” buried in the palace empty pool.
These are four archaeological sites with extraordinary evidence of the fear and desperation that was felt by the Maya People when they were under the attack of an enemy, an enemy that was also Maya (or was not?). They were in a real panic of what was going to happen to them if the enemy succeeded. Something that happened in all the four cases mentioned above.
The terror felt by those that were defeated has archaeological evidences. The consequences of their defeat have them, too.