U.S. archeologist creates Guatemalan research center separating Mayan history from legend

Tikal (Guatemala), temple 1, August 2006

Tikal (Guatemala), temple 1, August 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nicholas Hellmuth’s fascination with the ancient Mayas started long before he was part of the team that dug up the tomb of the Jade Jaguar King in Tikal, Guatemala, at age 19. But that’s when his interest in Mayan plants began.

“When I dug up the tomb the guy was smoking tobacco – that’s a plant. There were plants in all the vessels – every vase had food in it,” explains Hellmuth, the founder and director of FLAAR, The Foundation for Latin American Anthropological Research.

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