Located just two kilometers (about one mile) from the famed Copán ruins of western Honduras, El Rastrojón is an ancient Maya defensive fort that has never been open to the public. That’s about to change. For the past six years, researchers and archaeologists from Harvard University, the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History, and other organizations have worked hard to excavate the site, which has revealed several ornate buildings (including what some experts consider Copán valley’s most lavishly decorated temple) and insight into the military strategies of the Maya. Their research has shed light on the fort’s demise, as well: Built on a fault, the site was subject to earthquakes and mudslides that eventually forced its populace to leave. This month, El Rastrojón will open to visitors for the first time ever, providing yet another look into the fascinating world of the ancient Maya.

Photo credit: www.hondurastips.hn

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