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A new archelogical find has prompted speculation that Mayan women may have had a much more powerful role in their society than previously thought, nature.com reports.

A recently opened crypt in Guatemala, the site of the ancient Mayan city of Waka, contained the remains of two murdered women, arranged in a ritual tableau. One was pregnant, and laid face down, with the second woman laid on top.

David Freidel, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, who co-directs the excavations at Wak\xE1 said that stingray spines placed near their groins may indicate that they were on the same level as warriors.

Dorie Reents-Budet, a Maya specialist who works for the Smithsonian Institution from North Carolina, said: “This tomb tells us that women were extremely powerful. When there were political disagreements, women were killed.”