Just posted on Mesoweb is the latest in the series of La Corona Notes produced by the La Corona Archaeological Project (PRALC). This note, the second in the series, addresses the challenges in developing a logical designation system for site’s sculptures, many of which were looted from the site in the 1960s. Before La Corona’s identification in the 1990s, Peter Mathews had grouped these scattered blocks and panels and labeled their unknown source as “Site Q”.
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.
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!
The most recent issue of Science includes an article on the remarkable finds recently made at Ceibal (Seibal), Guatemala. Excavations there have revealed very early evidence of Maya ceremonial buildings and civic space, dating as far back as 1000 BCE. It’s wonderful and significant work, extending the roots of Maya religious architecture back to the Early Preclassic. Congratulations go out to Takeshi Inomata (my old Vanderbilt classmate and road-trip companion), Daniela Triadan and their colleagues.
Link to Science article (subscription required for full access)
“Early Maya Ceremonial Constructions at Ceibal, Guatemala, and the Origins of Lowland Maya Civilization”
Takeshi Inomata, Daniela Triadan, Kazuo Aoyama, Victor Castillo, and Hitoshi Yonenobu
Science, Vol. 340, no. 6131, pp. 467-471
The spread of plaza-pyramid complexes across southern Mesoamerica during the early Middle Preclassic period (1000 to 700 BCE) provides critical information regarding the origins of lowland Maya civilization and the role of the Gulf Coast Olmec. Recent excavations at the Maya site of Ceibal, Guatemala, documented the growth of a formal ceremonial space into a plaza-pyramid complex that predated comparable buildings at other lowland Maya sites and major occupations at the Olmec center of La Venta. The development of lowland Maya civilization did not result from one-directional influence from La Venta, but from interregional interactions, involving groups in the southwestern Maya lowlands, Chiapas, the Pacific Coast, and the southern Gulf Coast.