Mayan Temples of Yaxchilan & Piedras Negras

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Location: Usumacinta River, Mexico/ Guatemala border

Who Considers it Sacred? Lacandon tribe (descendants of the Mayans)

Significance: Contains hieroglyphic record of early Maya civilization; is an ancient Mayan worship site still used by the Lacondon Indians. The temples are auspiciously located next to river meanders, potent sources of energy. From the 4th through the 10th centuries A.D., the Mayas created these temples, inscribing them with hieroglyphics that archaeologists are still trying to decipher. At Piedras Negras, they have learned about Shield Jaguar and his son, Bird Jaguar, important Maya gods.

The Threat: Industrial development

Preservation Status: A planned hydroelectric dam could flood this area, destroying these valuable records of the Mayans. The dam project has been delayed for a 12-year period, and so danger is averted for the moment; however, international awareness must be brought to bear in order to protect these monuments permanently.

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