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Return to the Snake King Tomb in our exclusive Expedition Unknown preview

Josh Gates has the best job in the world on Expedition Unknown, here he is in Guatemala on the hunt for the Snake King. Pic credit: Discovery
Josh Gates has the best job in the world on Expedition Unknown; here he is in Guatemala on the hunt for the Snake King. Pic credit: Discovery

Discovery’s hit docuseries Expedition Unknown is back in action as Josh Gates takes us to South America, specifically Guatemala. We venture into El Mirador, a place where a large pre-Columbian Maya settlement was discovered.

It is north of El Petén, Guatemala, and the name means “the lookout” or “the viewpoint” for reasons you will see in our exclusive clip below.

Gates is on the exploration for the ruins of the Snake King. Expert Dr. Richard Hansen has accompanied him and may have discovered the holy tomb of the elusive Snake King, which had never been found.

In our clip, Gates explains the significant architectural context of the site that they are canvassing. He says: “This style of architecture where one main pyramid is flanked by two smaller ones is called triadic and it almost always signifies a religious or political center.”

A still from our clip shows an artist's rendering of what the site looked like back in the times of the Snake King. Pic credit: Discovery
A still from our clip shows an artist’s rendering of what the site looked like back in the times of the Snake King. Pic credit: Discovery

In the clip, Gates sets us up for the action on tonight’s no miss adventure.

He says: “After being summoned by archaeologist Dr. Richard Hansen … I’ve returned to the once lost pre-classic Mayan city of El Mirador … Richard believes that he may have finally discovered the site of a Snake King tomb inside the holy pyramid of El Tigre …  Now with GPR experts Bob and Bob Leonard, we’re going to scan and see if he’s right.”

About the Snake Kings and ancient Mayans

This area Josh is exploring is rich with ancient Mayan history.

The old city of Holmul has what is described by National Geographic magazine as a “series of steep, forested hills” in this northern Guatemalan area. This area is where Gates and Dr. Hansen are located.

The Petén Basin is forested and has hills formed in ring-like shapes, made of cut stone with tunnels carved into their sides. Described as “ancient pyramids” they are what remains of this ancient Maya civilization from over a millennium ago.

National Geographic writes:

The site was a thriving settlement during the Classic Maya period (A.D. 250-900), a time when writing and culture flourished throughout what is today Central America and southern Mexico. But it also was a time of political upheaval: Two warring city-states were locked in perennial conflict, grappling for supremacy. For a brief period one of those city-states prevailed and became the closest thing to an empire in Maya history. It was ruled by the Snake kings of the Kaanul dynasty, which until just a few decades ago no one even knew existed. Thanks to sites around this city-state, including Holmul, archaeologists are now piecing together the story of the Snake kings.

As the clip progresses, Dr. Hansen says: “Josh, what we’re looking at are three buildings on the summit of a platform which is characteristic of the architecture in the pre-classic period from 300 BC to about the time of Christ.”

Tune in to see what discoveries await Josh and watch the clip to see the newly found evidence to prove they are on the right track:

Expedition Unknown airs Wednesday at 9 pm on Discovery.

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