Family Finds Ancient Mayan Murals During Kitchen Renovation

It used to be an ordinary family kitchen. Now, it's an archeological treasure.

While scraping his walls five years ago in an effort to renovate his kitchen, Lucas Asicona Ramírez, discovered pieces of a Mayan mural centuries old.

Now, the Ramírez family of five is currently looking to convert the room into a small museum but lack the funds, according to the National Geographic.

Scientists are racing against time in an attempt to preserve the mural, before the light disintegrates the artwork and erases any unlocked secrets it may hold.

The mural, hidden behind plaster that makes up the 300-year-old home discovered in the Guatemalan village of Chajul, is authentic, according to Nat Geo.

"We don't get a lot of this type of artwork; it's not commonly preserved in the New World," said Saturno, a National Geographic grantee. "It'd be neat to see who the folks were who painted on the wall and why."

The paintings can be dated back to after the 16th century after the Spanish conquest of Guatemala. 

In one portion of the mural you can see "accompanied by a flutist, a Spanish-garbed drummer plays for a figure in a Maya headdress in the Ramírez's main living area, used as a kitchen and living-dining area."

Illustrations in the murals have text that dates back to 17th and 18th centuries.

"From the waist up" these figures are "typical Maya," with long capes, archaeologist Jarosław Źrałka, said to Nat Geo. "But they also have Spanish clothes"—pants and European-style shoes, for example. 

The key behind the origins of the paintings lies in the location of the Chajul village.  Many mayan cities mysteriously disappeared around 900 AD but some places, such as the Chujal village, survived the Spanish conquistadores longer than its’ northern brothers.

As for the effort to save these murals - scientists say the Ramírez family should have stopped scraping the plaster back in 2008 when he first noticed the mural, but they now must balance preservation versus private rights.

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