A stone marker that was used in the Mayan ball gamesimilar to football, with full hieroglyphic text, was discovered in the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá, located in the Mexican peninsula of Yucatán.
The commemorative disc carved in stone with images of participants in a Mayan sporting event depicts two individuals, each wearing traditional attire associated with the ancient Mayan game known as “pelota”.
According declared According to archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the disc measures 32.5 centimeters (12.75 inches) in diameter, 9.5 centimeters (3.75 inches) thick and weighs 40 kilograms.
The piece was found by the archaeologist Lizbeth Beatriz Mendicuti Perez, which is part of the Program for the Improvement of Archaeological Areas (Promeza), in charge of the Federal Ministry of Culture. His discovery occurred in the Casa Colorada Architectural Complex, named after the remnants of red paint inside. The discovery dates from between 800 and 900 AD, according to the INAH.
Left: The commemorative disc when first discovered and after restoration work (right). 1 credit
“In this Maya site, it is rare to find a hieroglyphic writing and even less a complete text; This hasn’t happened for more than 11 years,” said Francisco Pérez Ruiz, an INAH archaeologist.
Used for a championship?
It is reasonable to assume that the disc was ordered for a competition considered particularly important, suggesting that it could have been some kind of championship. The disk has been labeled by experts as “Ballplayer Disco”.
The two players on the puck were dressed a little differently, which could mean they were playing for opposing teams. The figure on the left wears a feathered headdress and a belt adorned with a flower-shaped element, probably a water lily. The opposing player wears a headdress known as a “snake turban”, which has been depicted on previous occasions at Chichen Itza.
Additionally, in line with the face of one of the players is an artifact, known as a scroll, which can be interpreted as a breath or a voice.
The disc is a rare example of a Maya text. Credit: INAH.
Pérez also pointed out that this object was part of structure 3C27, which corresponds to an access arch. She was found in a knocked down position, 58 centimeters from the surface, suggesting that her final position was due to the collapse of the east wall of the arch.
There is still a lot to understand
The disc has a fairly detailed inscription which has not yet been fully deciphered.
However, the archaeologists who found it decoded an annotation indicating that the players depicted were participants in a ball game that occurred in 894 AD.
Experts hope that the continuation of the translation of the inscription reveal more details about this ninth-century sporting eventincluding the names of the participating teams or even the score of the match if it was recorded on disk for posterity.
The ball had great cultural importance in the Maya civilization. The game was popular in pre-Columbian cultures in the region of present-day Mexico. In this sporting and ceremonial spectacle, competitors attempted to drive a ball through a ring of stone protruding from a wall, propelling it with their hips.
Previous studies have indicated that some balls used in these ancient games even contained the ashes dead Maya rulers. At the end of the game, in some cases, the winners were sacrificed to the gods.
First played almost 3,000 years ago, it was the national sport of the Mayan Empire, playing an integrative role among the Maya, just as sports such as football, soccer and football do today. basketball or American football.
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