Guatemala // Guatemala City, Antigua and around //

Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología

The archeological and ethnological museum has a world-class selection of Maya artefacts, though the displays are very antiquated, and most labels are in Spanish only. The collection has prehistoric sections, some wonderful stelae from Machaquilá and Dos Pilas, a re-creation of a royal tomb from Río Azul, spectacular jade masks from Takalik Abaj and a wonderful replica of a beautifully carved wooden lintel from Tikal’s Temple IV. However, it’s the exhibits collected from Piedras Negras, one of the most remote sites in Petén, that are most impressive: Stela 12, dating from 672 AD, brilliantly depicts a cowering captive king begging for mercy, while also on display is a monumental carved stone throne (J–6), richly engraved with superb glyphs and decorated with a twin-faced head.