February 24, 2017

A Remarkable Maya Jade Pendant from Belize

A remarkable jade pendant was uncovered at the Maya site of Nim Li Punit in Belize in 2015. The archaeologist who found it has published a paper in Ancient Mesoamerica on the find and a second paper in the Journal of Field Archaeology about the excavations. It is the only jade pendant inscribed with a historical text. Nim Li Punit was inhabited between 150-850 CE. While excavating a palace there dated at 400 CE, they found a tomb dating to 800 CE. Inside were 25 pottery vessels, a carved stone representing a deity and the jade pectoral. The pendant is in the shape of a T and the front is carved with a T. This is the Maya glyph for “ik.” It stands for wind or breath. It was found in a T-shaped platform. And one of the vessels depicts a Maya god of wind. The inscription on the back says the pendant was first used in 672 CE. Two bas relief slabs at the site show kings wearing the pendant while scattering incense, carved in 721 and 731 CE. The pendant was buried in 800 CE. At this date, the Maya world began to crumble in Belize and Guatemala. The glyphs show the pendant was made for the Maya king Janaab’ Ohl K’inich. His mother was from the Belize site of Cahal Pech and the father probably came from Guatemala. The glyph story may link the king to the huge site of Caracol in Belize. Perhaps royalty arrived at the site with this pendant.

More excavations will continue.

Archaeology News Network has the story here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Maya World

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Maya News Magazine

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Maya News on Tumblr

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