Temples of doom

The Mayans penchant for building places of worship brought their downfall

In 2001, when a hurricane ripped through the jungles of northern Guatemala, an uprooted tree at the base of the ruins of a pyramid exposed stones bearing one of the longest texts of hieroglyphs ever found. The inscriptions belong to the Mayan civilization. Part of a grand staircase leading up the side of a pyramid, the inscribed stones recorded the triumphs and defeats of a civilization caught in the middle of protracted warfare between two superpowers of the civilization