By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE – National Geographic has named the Brown University archaeology team’s discovery of the Maya Temple of the Night Sun last summer in Guatemala the most popular discovery of 2012.
National Geographic called the discovery “dramatic” and “an archaeological goldmine.” The temple is reported to date to about 350 to 400 A.D.
The Brown team, led by Stephen Houston - a professor of social science, anthropology and archaeology - first began uncovering the temple, part of the Maya archaeological site at El Zotz, Guatemala, in 2009 and in July reported discovering the temple, sitting just behind a previously uncovered royal tomb.
The El Zotz site in 2011 was named one of the World Monument Fund’s 67 international cultural heritage sites at risk.
Houston previously told PBN the discovery will give researchers a “significant amount” of previously unknown insight into the Maya civilization.
Other discoveries making National Geographic’s top 10 list include the discovery of eight new mammals found during a September expedition to northern Peru’s Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary by a team of Mexican and Peruvian biologists and the February discovery of six potentially new species belonging to a group of animals called caecilians that represent a new family of amphibians in northeast India.
A complete list of the Top 10 discoveries is online at www.nationalgeographic.com.