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Tourist vandals carve their initials into Mayan temple

Ancient: Tikal
Temple II in
has been

TOURISTS were caught vandalising an ancient Mayan temple by carving their initials into a wall.

The two men were visiting the 1,300-year-old Tikal Temple II, or Temple of the Masks, in the ancient Guatemalan city of Tikal when they decided to scratch A+T into the stone.

Local tour leader Vinicio Alba Ruiz caught them defacing the painstakingly restored structure, taking their photos before confronting them.

Defaced: The pair of tourists scrawled the initials A+T into the Mayan temple’s walls PICTURE: VINICIO ALBA RUIZ

‘I found them carving on the walls of Temple II,’ he said on Facebook. ‘When I asked what they were doing they got upset and seemed offended.

‘If you come to this site you have to respect the rules. They do not need further explanation, it is common sense.

‘We need to recruit more staff to look after our heritage.’

Located near the present-day city of Flores in the northern Guatemalan department of Peten, Tikal was founded in 732 AD.

Temple II is part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park and in 1979 it was declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The Guatemalan Tourism Industry complained about the vandalism in a public statement and demanded that the Public Ministry of Culture and Sport, which manages the world heritage monument, hold the tourists accountable.

They potentially face a heavy fine or even jail, although it is unclear whether the incident is being investigated.