March 23, 2020

The Ancient Chiapas Site of Sak Tz’i’ Research

A local farmer in Chiapas found a 2 by 4 feet ancient Maya tablet in the community of Lacanja Tzeltal. It turned out that this tablet is at the Maya site of Sak Tz’i’. This place is referenced in sculptors and inscriptions across the Maya world. The tablets tell a story about a water serpent, unnamed gods, a mythic flood and accounts of the births, deaths and battles of ancient rulers. The tablets meanings were announced at Brandeis University. The site was on the border between Mexico and Guatemala.

It was settled in 750 CE and was occupied for more than 1,000 years. It was protected by a stream with a steep ravine on one side and defensive walls on the other side. It probably made alliances for protection. There is a figure of a dancing figure on the excavated tablet, probably of the god Yoopat, associated with violent storms. He is holding a lightning bolt axe and a stone weapon. Another sculpture at the site tells of a fire at the site during a conflict.

Since summer of 2018, when the local farmer found the tablet,  archaeologists have excavated pyramids, a royal palace, a ball court and a ceremonial plaza. One pyramid has carved stelae around it. Lidar will be employed for further research.

The research is published in the December 2019 Journal of Field Archaeology.

Live Science has the report here with photos.

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