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Archaeologists working in Tikal during the 20th century refurbished one of these ancient reservoirs to store water for their own use.

The Tikal National Park covers an area of 575.83 square kilometres (222.33 sq mi).

However, some archaeologists, such as David Webster, believe these figures to be far too high.

The name Tikal may be derived from ti ak'al in the Yucatec Maya language; it is said to be a relatively modern name meaning "at the waterhole".One of these had elaborate paintings on the outer walls showing human figures against a scrollwork background, painted in yellow, black, pink and red.At the end of the Late Preclassic, the Izapan style art and architecture from the Pacific Coast began to influence Tikal, as demonstrated by a broken sculpture from the acropolis and early murals at the city.For the 120 square kilometres (46 sq mi) area falling within the earthwork defenses of the hinterland, the peak population is estimated at 517 per square kilometer (1340 per square mile).In an area within a 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) radius of the site core, peak population is estimated at 120,000; population density is estimated at 265 per square kilometer (689 per square mile).

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