2,000-year-old stele reveals mysteries of Mayan writing

Date:

Share post:

A 2,000-year-old stele discovered in southwestern Guatemala revealed signs of the birth of writing in the Mayan culture that dominated southern Mexico and part of Central America, experts said.
2,000-year-old stele reveals mysteries of Mayan writing
Credit: Cultura y Deportes




Stele 87 was found in September 2018 in the Tak’alik Ab’aj archaeological park in the municipality of El Asintal, 125 km southwest of the capital. “It is an example of the genesis of Mayan writing”, German epigrapher Nikolai Grube said in a presentation. “The great importance of stele 87 is that it is an early example of the development of writing in Mesoamerica (…) Tak’alik Ab’aj was a place of experimentation with Mayan writing,” Grube said in a video conference from Mexico during an event at the National Palace in the Guatemalan capital.

Although a “linguistic reading” of the hieroglyphs was not achieved, the expert said the stele shows a ruler with his name and titles and evidence of “an early Maya text,” according to Grube.
2,000-year-old stele reveals mysteries of Mayan writing
Credit: Cultura y Deportes




The stele dates back to 100 BC during the late pre-classic period (400 BC-200 AD) and is carved out of natural rock. Tak’alik Ab’aj was a city that was originally inhabited by the Olmecs (1500 BC-AD 100) and by the Maya during their expansion in the Middle Preclassic period (800 – 300 BC). The Olmecs disappeared, and the Maya continued to develop their advanced culture. Guatemalan archaeologist Christa Schieber, technical coordinator of the park, said Tak’alik Ab’aj was a “laboratory” for “experiments” in Maya writing that later evolved.

In 2012, Guatemalan archaeologists announced the discovery of the tomb of a powerful king in Tak’alik Ab’aj, which could have led to the transition from Olmec to Mayan culture between 700 and 400 BC.
2,000-year-old stele reveals mysteries of Mayan writing
Credit: Cultura y Deportes

President Alejandro Giammattei said at the event that he would ask UNESCO to declare the site a World Heritage Site. The Mayan culture had its greatest splendor in the so-called classical period (250-900 AD) until it went into decline in the post-classical period (900-1200 AD) and covered the Mesoamerican area comprising southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Belize.

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Treasures from sunken HMS Investigator offer glimpse into past

A trove of artifacts recovered from a vessel that was sent in search of the ill-fated Franklin expedition...

Greece offers to loan ancient treasures to Britain in bid for Parthenon sculptures

Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said that he is willing to allow ancient treasures to be exhibited in London...

Mazotos wreck to shed light on ancient shipbuilding

Latest underwater excavations on the 2,350-year-old Mazotos shipwreck have established that the keel, and at least 15 metres...

Red paint on 1,000-year-old gold mask from Peru contains human blood proteins

Thirty years ago, archaeologists excavated the tomb of an elite 40-50-year-old man from the Sicán culture of Peru,...

Earliest evidence of Italians’ genetic diversity dates back to end of last glacial period

In Europe, Italians are the richest population in terms of genetic wealth. This is now common knowledge. The...

Looted Iraqi museum hopes to reopen, minus many relics

A decade on from the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and whipped up a tsunami of...

Kurgan burial excavated in NW Iran

An emergency exploration operation is underway in the kurgan of Abellou site in the city of Ahar, East...

Rome Mayor asks embassies to put vandal tourists on blacklist and ban them from returning

Rome mayor Virginia Raggi is writing to the British ambassador to Italy and other envoys in a bid...