Tikal: Temple III

Temple III [January 5, 2004]

"It is unfortunate that the second last ruler of the great city is represented only by a single Great Temple with a carved lintel and the stela and altar that stand before it. However, it is more than we have for the final ruler. The date on Stela 24 is 24 June AD 810 which in fact is a katun-ending date, the end of the 19th katun in the Maya count. Such a date should have been included in a twin-pyramid complex but none was built for this katun. We infer that resources were badly down by this time and that the ruler had to choose among his options, and the construction of a Great Temple won out over a twin-pyramid group.

Temple III stands roughtly 60 m (180 ft) in height, faces east and has two interior tandem rooms instead of the three found in Temples I, II, and IV. Little detail of the sculpture on the roof comb has survived, but its height and verticality render the temple comparable to Temple I in Proportion."

Peter Harrison, The Lords of Tikal, p. 175