Residents in Chajul, an Ixil Mayan municipality located some 350km from Guatemala City, have found ancient Mayan murals after they pulled back plaster in their colonial-era homes. The murals were painted by the farmers' Mayan ancestors, approximately 300 years ago and experts believe similar murals could lie hidden in as many as eight more homes in the town, according to a Reuters report.
"We try to keep the kids away from it and keep people from touching it," Lucas Asicona, a 38 year old farmer said. He found the Mayan murals in 2005, by accident, when overseeing renovation work at his ancestral home. He added he has been struggling to preserve these ancient Mayan treasures.
"The house is very humid and some of the colors have been fading. The black has started to turn gray and some of the other colors have lost their shine, but we do what we can without any funding," he explained.
Asicona added the discoverers of the murals had yet to hear back from the government over plans to preserve the cultural artifacts, despite the fact they are registering tourist interest from as far afield as Europe. The town of Chajul is in a mountainous region and difficult to access and the householders are doing "whatever possible" on their own to protect the art of their ancestors.
"We keep the house up as best we can. We have contacted the government about the paintings, but (all we get are) promises and no action," Asicona concluded.
Meanwhile, historians say the murals on these farmers' household walls depict events from the history of the Mayans and these murals are genuine. For instance, one of the murals shows an event from 1650, when Spanish soldiers forced local Mayans to build a Catholic Church at the centre of the city and the church is still standing. The other murals also represent local lore.
"We consider these murals to be very unique. It is tangible heritage that represent real scenes from history," a Guatemalan anthropologist, Ivonne Putzeys, explained.
Scroll down to view these Mayan murals in Chajul...