A fossilized man believed to be 1,300-year-old remains of a Mayan prince has been unearthed in the ancient city of Uxul, near the Guatemalan border. Researchers have estimated the age of the prince at the time of death to be around 20 to 25 years. The body was found lying on his back, with his arms folded inside a tomb 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) below the floor in a building within the city's royal complex.

1,300-year-old Remains of a Mayan Prince Discovered in Uxul

When the researchers first slipped a camera into the tomb to peek at what was inside they saw ceramics at the feet of the skeleton, said Kai Delvendahl, field director for the project with the University of Bonn.

A total of nine pieces of ceramics, including a plate painted in the distinctively black-lined Mayan Codex-Style covering the man's skull have been discovered. Delvendahl said that at Mayan sites, it is not uncommon to find plates placed over the skulls of the deceased. The other ceramic pieces have clues to suggest that the deceased was a man or prince.  One vessel bore hieroglyphics reading: "[This is] the drinking vessel of the young man/prince." A second also bore a mention of a young man or prince.

Absence of certain status markers, such as jade jewelry has convinced the researchers that the young man even if was prince, was not in line for the throne.  One of the ceramic vessels bears a scene, which includes a date that corresponds to the year A.D. 711.

"Maybe the drinking cup was dedicated at that time, and if we assume the cup belonged to a person who died at age 20 to 25, we can more or less restrict the death," Delvendahl told LiveScience, meaning that the date on the cup gives archaeologists an idea of when the man died.

The date on the vessel indicates the man was buried during a 90-year period after the Calakmul rulers had lost power in Uxul, and before Uxul was abandoned, Delvendahl said.

"We feel that the person that was buried there is a son of a local ruler, someone who was not in direct line to the throne, but we feel this ruler still had certain connections to the Calakmul dynasty," a connection supported by the style of the ceramics, he said.

This is not the first tomb archaeologists have discovered in Uxul, as other, simpler tombs have also been uncovered, Delvendahl said.

The Mayan city of Uxul is located deep in the jungle and accessible to archaeologists only for two to three months a year during the dry season. The researchers have found evidence that Uxul was ruled by the dynasty of Calakmul, a regional center 21 miles (34 kilometers) to the northeast.

Mexico is a treasure trove of ancient monuments and artifacts. With a history dating back thousands of years, Mexico has always archaeologists, scientists and tourists. With the excitement around the Mayan calendar and the prophesy of the end of the world, the region is in news more then ever. Even the authorities have taken advantage of this opportunity to promote and raise the awareness of the Mexico rich history and beauty though various events and functions under the Mundo Maya campaign

Photo: Uxul Archaeological Project/University of Bonn