A Mayan jade pendant found back in 2015, which describes the story of its owning king, can now rewrite Mayan History. The huge pendant, have now been translated, and according to the results, it’s even more intriguing than thought when it was found, and can even rewrite our understanding of the Mayan History.
The artefact, is a jade plane in a form of a T, that was worn by the king during the Mayan religious ceremonies, it measures 19cm wide, by 10 cm high, and has a thickness of 0.8cm, making it the second largest ever found at the Mayan region of Belize.
But that is not the reason why it’s so singular, the artefact is the first of its kind inscribed with historical text, on the back side, it contains about 30 hieroglyphs that describe its first owner. Not only the pendant and inscription itself are curious, but the region where it was found is also very odd, it was found at Nim Li Punit, in the south side of Belize, a pretty isolated region at the time.
“It was like finding the Hope Diamond in Peoria instead of New York”, said lead researcher Geoffrey Braswell from the University of California, San Diego. “We would expect something like it in one of the big cities of the Maya world. Instead, here it was, far from the center”, He added.
The region, Nim Li Punit, is a quite small site neat the modern town of Indian Creek, sited on a ridge in the Maya Mountains in the southeastern edge of the ancient Maya site, around 402 km south of the famous Mayan city, Chichen Itza in Mexico.
Rediscovered back in the 1970’s, the city is believed to have been inhabited between around 150 and 850 CE. This pendant was discovered between the remains of a palace that was built around 400 CE, buried inside a collapsed tomb.
The tomb is dated back from around 800 CE, near the end of the presence of the Mayan in the village, and was filled by many other artefacts.
The T-shape of the pendant directly corresponds to the Mayan glyph “ik”, that means “wind and breath”, and indicates the pendant was used in rituals to the most important of the gods, Huracan, the god of wind.
But what does the pendant tell us? Although the text is still being translated, the team responsible says that the pendant was made to the king Janaab’ Ohl K’inich, and was probably first used in 672 CE. The text then describes the king’s parentage and accession rites, and ends with a passage, that links the king to the ancient and powerful Mayan city, Caracol, located northeast of the site.
“We didn’t think we’d find royal, political connections to the north and the west of Nim Li Punit,” said Braswell. “We thought if there were any at all that they’d be to the south and east.”
Braswell thinks the pendant is a representative of when a new dynasty arrived at Nim Li Punit, and founded the city. This theory is based on the fact that this artefact seems to be the oldest with images or hieroglyphs on the region.
However, further investigation is needed, since the pendant alone, is very vague proof to the facts, so the teams and Braswell will further investigate.