One of the most fascinating things about the Mundo Maya is the rate of scientific progress that is made in the worlds of archaeology, iconography, and anthropology. Just last week, for example, at the Takálik Ab´aj archaeological site  in western Guatemala, "a necklace of more than 70 beads of jadeite of different forms and outstanding beauty" was found during a dig. (Read the full Guatemala Times article, "Unique discovery of jade necklace from ancient Mayan ruler at Tak’alik Ab’aj." )
Then a few days ago, scientists using a mass spectrometer found traces of nicotine and tobacco on a Maya flask from about 700 A.D. ("Mass Spectrometry Detects First Physical Evidence of Nicotine in Mayan Container" ).
In addition, gigantic advances have been made in the understanding of Maya writing. Where less than 10 percent of hieroglyphics were understood about 50 years ago, iconographers now understand over 90 percent.
In 2012, extra-curious visitors to the region can join special tours and packages  led by the same archaeologists making these discoveries, creating enormous learning opportunities -- and your own discoveries.