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Tikal: North Acropolis

January 7, 1998

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George Stuart called the North Acropolis "the most complicated layer cake of ancient architecture ever excavated in this hemisphere".

At the front-center of the North Acropolis is Structure 5D-33, probably the most intensively explored and excavated temple at Tikal, if not in the whole Maya area. Three structures, one over the other, are partially visible today. The latest is termed 33-1st. Originally this pyramid and its two-room building towered close to 110 feet above the plaza. Built before Temples I and II, around A.D. 600, this great temple was found in very poor condition and has been largely dismantled. As if to compensate for the sad state of 33-1st, tunneling beneath it disclosed two magnificently embellished Early Classic temples, 33-2nd, and beneath it, 33-3rd, both of which are partially accessible today.

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Last update: August 17, 1999