AGUATECA - Mayan Upperclass City
Engulfed by humidity and mosquitoes, our international team of archaeologists recently uncovered a fortified upper-class enclave abandoned around A.D. 800. Fire—presumably set by still unidentified attackers—had ravaged almost every building. This was the heart of Aguateca, a political center of several thousand Maya in the rain forest of what is now Guatemala.
Beginning about A.D. 700, a powerful Maya dynasty made Aguateca and Dos Pilas its twin capitals. But as battles for control of the area escalated (see Geographica, National Geographic, October 2002), the dynasty hunkered down at Aguateca, probably because of its protected site at the top of an escarpment.
Eventually the enemy pressed in. The royal family packed up and fled the palace. Loyal courtiers stayed on in defense but finally dropped everything and ran—or were captured—their possessions largely left in place. (source: national geographic)