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Destination Details

Peten, Guatemala

Dos Pilas is a Pre-Columbian site of the Maya civilization located in what is now the department of Petén, Guatemala. It dates to the Late Classic Period, being founded by an offshoot of the dynasty of the great city of Tikal in AD 629 in order to control trade routes in the Petexbatún region, particularly the Pasión River. In AD 648 Dos Pilas broke away from Tikal and became a vassal state of Calakmul, although the first two kings of Dos Pilas continued to use the same emblem glyph that Tikal did. It was a predator state from the beginning, conquering Itzan, Arroyo de Piedra and Tamarindito. Dos Pilas and a nearby city, Aguateca, eventually became the twin capitals of a single ruling dynasty. The kingdom as a whole has been named as the Petexbatun Kingdom, after Lake Petexbatún, a body of water draining into the Pasión River.

Dos Pilas gives an important glimpse into the great rivalries and political strife that characterised the Late Classic. Much of the history of Dos Pilas can now be reconstructed, with a level of detail which is almost unparalleled in the Maya area.

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