The North Acropolis
Occupying the northern end of The Great Plaza is the North Acropolis, its foundations dating as far back as 100 B.C., though the 12 temples sitting atop this large structure are part of a later rebuilding effort dating to A.D. 250.
Some of these earlier structures can be seen today thanks to a tunnel excavated by archaeologists that provides a glimpse of two giant masks from Early Classic times guarding the entrance to a still-buried temple. The remains of Yax Nuun Ayin I, the first of Tikal’s rulers under Teotihuacán hegemony, were found buried here in 1959 and revealed many details of Teotihuacán influence, including ceramics and the dreaded atlatl.
Some much-eroded stelae line the front of the North Acropolis. These depicted Tikal’s ruling elite and many have been subjected to ritual defacement at the hands of invaders from neighboring states such as Calakmul.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com