Archaeology: Forgotten, But Not Gone

A tour guide at the legendary ruins of Palenque in Chiapas, Mexico, likes to tell the story. A tourist, after staring in awe at the towering pyramids, turned to the guide and said, "The buildings are beautiful, but where did all the people go?" "Of course, she was talking to a Maya," the guide says, shaking his head at the irony. "We're still here. We never left."

The exchange illustrates a living paradox at the heart of the Maya puzzle: even as scientists continue to investigate the mysterious eclipse of the classic Maya empire, the Maya themselves are all around them....

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