Archaeologist William Saturno scrapes ancient debris from a scribe's painting-filled, roughly 1,200-year-old home in Guatemala. Calculations on the walls refer to dates after December 21, 2012—which has been erroneouslycalled the Maya doomsday—as well as the first known Maya house art, according to a new study.
The long-overgrown house is part of a ruined Maya city named Xultún, rediscovered nearly a century ago but still largely unexcavated. Saturno's team began excavating the home—one of thousands of buried structures at the 12-square-mile (31-square-kilometer) site—in 2010.
Published this week in the journal Science, Saturno's research was funded by the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration andExpeditions Council, and will be featured in the June issue of National Geographic magazine. (National Geographic News is a division of the Society.)