In the jungles of northern Guatemala, a team of archaeologists carefully pick through the ruins of an ancient city. Using the latest scientific methods, they hope to build up a picture of life in the great Mayan empire. But will they finally solve the mystery of why it collapsed, leaving thousands of years of civilization to turn to dust?
Today, the Mayans are mostly considered a mysterious people, known for constructing vast cities across what is now Central America before abruptly disappearing more than 1,000 years ago. However, during their peak around the sixth century A.D., they were one of the region’s greatest civilizations.
The first seeds of the Mayan Empire were sown during what is known as the Preclassic era, which lasted from 2000 B.C. to 250 A.D. During this period, the Maya established settlements across modern-day Guatemala, Belize and Mexico, cultivating crops such as squash, maize and beans. And as they thrived, their villages began to develop into fledgling cities.