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Where the Mighty Fell
Photograph by Kenneth Garrett

A fortified bluff some 300 feet (90 meters) tall wasn't enough to protect Aguateca, capital of a powerful Maya dynasty in what is now Guatemala. In the early ninth century A.D.—a time of intense struggles for control of the region—warriors from another dynasty stormed in, burned the palace and the homes of the nobles, and sent the high and mighty fleeing for their lives. The invaders quickly departed without leaving any clue to their identity. Since no one ever resettled Aquateca, archaeologists are now able to recover all the durable things left behind in the panic of evacuation—an unprecedented record of Classic Maya culture.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon F5
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia 50
Lens: 17-35mm Nikkor zoom
Speed and F-Stop: 1/25 @ f/5.6

Weather Conditions: Hot and humid
Time of Day: Midday
Lighting Techniques: Natural light

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