NEWS: Discovery of an Inscribed Temple Facade at Holmul, Guatemala


A large and beautifully preserved temple facade has been unearthed this year at Holmul, Guatemala, by an archaeological team led by Francisco Estrada-Belli. The imagery features a local Holmul ruler named ? Chan Yopaat seated atop a world mountain (witz). Large serpents emerge from the witz mask and face toward other seated figures — possibly ancestors  — at the corners.

The official National Geographic announcement (with photos) can be found here.

The Boston University press release is here.

UPDATE: A Higher res picture is available here, courtesy of Alex Tokovinine. Thanks, Alex!

One unusual and important feature of the Holmul facade is a long hieroglyphic text that runs along the bottom of the scene. This is now being closely studied and documented by Alex Tokovinine of the Holmul project. It contains a number of royal names, including that of the contemporary ruler from nearby Naranjo, “Aj Wosaaj.”  The inscription also refers to the ruler of the Snake kingdom (Kaanul or Kaanal) when it was based at Dzibanche.

A great find. I only wish Francisco had found this before we had our Art of Maya Architecture gathering at the 2013 UT Maya Meetings!

5 thoughts on “NEWS: Discovery of an Inscribed Temple Facade at Holmul, Guatemala

  1. David Stuart August 8, 2013 / 12:10 AM

    Great Alex. Thank you! I’ll post the link in the main article.

  2. jesse simms August 8, 2013 / 2:39 AM

    Wonderful find! Just a few questions: is that NAAH-AJAW near the beginning referencing the first king in the king list at Holmul? Also would the seated king’s name be something like OCH-CHAN-YOP-AAT-ma-cha-AJ? And last question, is the KAAN mention K’IN-CHI-ta-ja-?TUUN?-ya-AJAW-KAAN-?-li? And how does that relate to AJ Wosaaj? Thanks again, and wonderful work down there!

  3. norm August 9, 2013 / 6:31 PM

    The Tikal-Calakmul conflict, an epic saga played out over a 1000 years…HBO mini-series? ,

  4. Mario F. Malo August 13, 2013 / 4:42 AM

    wonderful, wonderful find!

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