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Panama’s Archaeologists Unearth Ancient Tomb Containing Gold Treasure and Sacrificial Offerings

Archaeologists in Panama have made a groundbreaking discovery at the El Caño Archaeological Park, unearthing an ancient lord’s tomb filled with gold treasures and sacrificial victims. This tomb, estimated to be around 1,200 years old, sheds light on the rituals and customs of the Coclé culture that once inhabited the region.

The tomb, which is believed to be the final resting place of an elite chief, contained a wealth of gold artifacts, including bracelets, belts, earrings, and circular gold plates. The treasure trove also included unique items such as gold-covered sperm whale teeth earrings, crocodile-shaped earrings, and bone flutes. Archaeologists also found skirts made with dog teeth, indicating the elaborate and intricate burial practices of the ancient civilization.

In addition to the gold treasures, the tomb also held the remains of up to 31 individuals who were sacrificed to accompany the chief in the afterlife. Dr. Julia Mayo, the director of the El Caño Foundation and the leader of the archaeological project, stated that the excavation of the burial site is ongoing, and the full extent of the sacrificial victims is yet to be determined. The chief was buried face down, a common practice in these types of burials, atop the body of a woman.

The significance of this discovery cannot be understated. Linette Montenegro, the national director of heritage at the Ministry of Culture, emphasized the historical and cultural value of the artifacts found in the tomb, stating that they hold not only economic value but also immense cultural significance. The excavation at the archaeological park began in 2022, and the findings provide valuable insights into the ancient traditions and beliefs of the Coclé culture.

El Caño Archaeological Park, where the tomb was discovered, served as a necropolis between 700 AD and 1000 AD before being abandoned. Located in the Coclé province, approximately 100 miles southwest of Panama City, the site offers a glimpse into the rich history of the region and the civilizations that once thrived there.

Overall, the discovery of the ancient lord’s tomb in Panama represents a significant milestone in archaeological research and sheds light on the practices and beliefs of an ancient civilization. The meticulous excavation and documentation of the findings will undoubtedly contribute to our understanding of the past and help preserve the cultural heritage of Panama for future generations.

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Forest Lawn Drive now free of RV encampment and parking

Nancy Sexton was thrilled when city crews cleared out more than 50 RVs in December that had been parked near her business for months, blocking parking spots and leaving behind trash and waste on Forest Lawn Drive.

Then she realized the long stretch of road near Barham Boulevard in the Hollywood Hills was suddenly off limits for not just parked RVs, but all parked vehicles. Much of the curb was painted red. No parking signs lined the sidewalk.

“It’s a dumb decision,” said Sexton, who owns the Muse Rooms, which offers leased office spaces. “It’s frustrating.”

The more than 50 RVs, which had been stationed along the winding road for months as a semi-permanent living encampment, were removed in December as part of the city’s operation known as Inside Safe. One goal of the program, which is part of Mayor Karen Bass’ initiative to bring people living on the streets indoors, is to end the cycle of homeless encampments being cleared by the city only to return a few weeks later.

But days after the RVs were removed, Sexton said, the curb was painted red and parking was limited. The new red zone is about a quarter mile long, running between Warner Bros. Studios’ Gate 9 entrance and North Coyote Canyon Drive.

The areas that do allow parking, meanwhile, have two-hour limits.

City officials also said the decision to restrict parking was done out of fire safety concerns, not to keep the RVs from resettling along the road. Sexton has her doubts.

The lack of parking along the street suddenly imposed a new, unexpected expense on her clients, prompting some to look elsewhere. The red curb has also become an irritation for some students and workers at the New York Film Academy and businesses nearby.

A road with RVs lining its right side.

RVs are parked on Forest Lawn Drive on June 27, 2023, in Burbank.

(David McNew/Getty Images)

Since the no-parking signs went up, Sexton said, she’s lost two regular members and two potential clients. All of them had aired concern about the lack of street parking and the added expense of paying $12 a day at the parking structure on site.

The parking fee, Sexton said, doubled the monthly costs for some members.

“I didn’t know how much of a problem it was going to be until there were people saying, ‘I can’t pay $12 a day,’ ” she said. “I’m really feeling it now.”

The situation highlights some of the unintended results as city officials look to address homelessness and the concerns of businesses and homeowners affected by makeshift encampments, whether they involve tents, vehicles, or both.

RV encampments have sprung up across the city amid a housing crisis that has left many people priced out of permanent homes. Local officials have looked for ways to address the issue, including new regulations that have targeted overnight RV parking.

According to the mayor’s office, the Inside Safe program has addressed 39 encampments so far, moving more than 2,400 people into interim housing and an additional 440 into permanent housing since December 2022.

Bass spokesperson Zach Seidl said the RVs that were removed from Forest Lawn Drive were themselves causing parking issues in the area, as well as raising other significant safety and public health concerns.

Members of the surrounding community have said removing the RVs “has helped on all three fronts,” Seidl said in a statement. “This operation has saved lives.

Stella Stahl, spokesperson for Councilmember Nithya Raman, said the city has helped many of the RV residents along Forest Lawn Drive to find housing indoors.

In a statement, Stahl credited the decision to limit parking to a request by the Los Angeles Fire Department, which called the area a “high fire severity zone.” A 2019 brush fire in the area burned more than 30 acres and threatened homes and businesses.

In a Sept. 19, 2023, letter, LAFD Assistant Chief Dean Zipperman asked the city Department of Transportation to install “Tow Away No Stopping Any Time” restrictions on the road due to the stopped and parked vehicles there.

To avoid the hassle of looking for parking, cinematography students Sanchin Vinay, Yifan Xiang, and Davide Picci carpool to their classes at the New York Film Academy, which shares a building with the Muse Rooms. Eliminating the RVs has opened some spots to them, although Picci said they’d been able to find spaces on the street before — “really far down.”

A couch on a sidewalk near an RV.

The curb along Forest Lawn Drive, where someone has left a couch.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Sometimes they pay the $12 for the daily parking to avoid being late for class. Carpooling helps cushion the cost.

Leslie Bates, a film production instructor, said she heard of students and faculty members having “volatile” interactions with the RV residents.

Now that the RVs have

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