The “Place of Cedars”


A toponym mentioned on Lintel 10 of Yaxchilan reads K’UH-TE’-la, based in all likelihood on the name for cedar tree (cedro) in Ch’olan, Tzelatalan and Yukatekan languages (and Western Mayan in general). For example:

CH’OL (Aulie and Aulie) ch’ujte’, cedro (literalmente árbol santo; se utiliza para hacer los palitos de los tambores que se usan en las fiestas)

YUKATEK (Bolles) k’u che, native cedar. Literally “god tree”, thought to be so called because the wood was often used for making idols.

On Lintel 10 the place name is spelled with a final -la sign, probably giving a – Vl suffix to derive the toponym from the noun root — possibly K’uhte’eel or Ch’uhte’eel, “Place of Cedars.” As shown in the illustration, this location follows a “shell-star” war verb, indicating it names a community conquered by Yaxchilan. So far it’s geographical location is unknown.

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