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Serpent head sculptures found at Mayan ball court

Two 1,500-year-old sculptures have been found at the ballgame courts in the Mayan city of Tonina in Chiapas.

This discovery allows the consolidation of the hypotheses of how this ritual place looked like in the Prehispanic age; due to its architectural position it is the one that resembles more the one described in Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Mayas.

The recent finding of the 2 sculptures adds up to four other similar that have appeared in different moments since 1992, all of them in Palacio del Inframundo (Underworld Palace), at the Acropolis of Tonina. Both monuments, manufactured with limestone and 80 centimeters long, present a Teotihuacan style.

Archaeologist Juan Yadeun Angulo, responsible for the Tonina Archaeological Project, informed that the finding allowed reinforcing hypotheses regarding the form that the ritual court had.

“With this discovery, the Tonina Ballgame court, 70 meters long, becomes the only example in Mexico of how these ritual spaces were in the Classic period (200-900 AD), whose scoreboards were animal-shaped monuments”.

After pointing out that the study of this ballgame court goes back three decades, the archaeologist from the Chiapas INAH Center detailed that since 1992, fragments of figures of reptile heads were found, buried at the Palacio del Inframundo. At present, four of them have been completed, but inscriptions at the site refer to six.

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2 thoughts on “Serpent head sculptures found at Mayan ball court

  1. A POST 2012 ALERT !!!

    The GMT correlation and the 2012 end date of the Mayan calendar is associated primarily with the legendary, J. Eric S.Thompson, one of the most influential archaeologists of the time. Over the years numerous correlations have been proposed but, according to archaeologist Michael D. Coe, today’s unofficial “Dean of Maya Studies”, in his book titled “THE MAYA”, only the GMT and the Spinden correlations meet the requirements of both dirt archaeology and specific dates. According to Coe, of the various correlations developed to date, the Herbert Spinden correlation, which uses archaeological evidence from both the Maya lowlands and the southern highland regions, best fits the archaeological and historical requirements.

    Michael Coe writes in his book BREAKING THE MAYA CODE, that “Thompson could talk himself and his colleagues into any position if it coincided with his own preconceptions.” According to Coe, when Joseph Goodman first came up with the correlation in 1910, that we now accept as the Goodman, Martinez, Thompson correlation, (GMT), it was generally rejected in favor of the correlation developed by the other great Maya archaeologist, Sylvanus G. Morley, and later espoused by Dr. Herbert Spinden. When, in 1926, Juan Martinez Hernandez resurrected the Goodman correlation, Thompson “joined suit” and threw in the full weight of his considerable reputation behind it. Even when most of the new radiocarbon dates seemed to go against him,” Thompson “defended his position until the end of his days.” (Breaking the Maya Code (1992, 1999 p. 132).

    Quoting J. Eric S. Thompson…….

    “I do not wish thereby to indicate that the correlation that I have sponsored is necessarily correct. I am very far from feeling that it is infallible, and have said so on many occasions”. (from “Maya Chronology: the Correlation Question”, Contributions to American Archaeology, xiv (1935) 53-104, p.75)

    A number of archaeologists, among them my father, the late Stephan F. de Borhegyi and, most notably E. Wyllys Andrews (1960, 1965, 1965c, 1968, 1973), presented convincing archaeological evidence favoring the correlation developed by Dr. Herbert Spinden. Since the two correlations differ by 260 years, the so-called “end date,” of the Mayan Calendar according to the Spinden correlation occurred in December, 1752.

    My father, better known simply as “Borhegyi”, was one of the leading researchers of the pre-Columbian ballgame before his untimely death. In his manuscript, The PreColumbian ballgame: A Pan-Mesoamerican Tradition; published posthumously in 1980, by the Milwaukee Public Museum, he called into question the construction date of the Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza. Borhegyi along with fellow archaeologist Lee A. Parsons, had reason to believe that the construction date of the Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza was much earlier than was previously supposed. Both believed the ballcourt to be Mid to Late Classic rather than Early Post-Classic, and that the stone ballcourt rings were an Early Post-Classic addition indicating a later change of rules in the way the game was played (de Borhegyi,1980-12).

    The Maya city of Chichen Itza is one of those sites with Puuc architecture and archaeological data that seriously questions the GMT Thompson correlation upon which the December 21, 2012 “End Date” in the Maya Long Count Calendar depends.

    Archaeologist Dr. Stephan F. de Borhegyi…

    ” I firmly believe that the vertical-walled Great Ballcourt at Chichen Itza, with its gruesome human decapitation scenes and human “skull balls” is of Late Classic origin and a result of the “Tajinized Nonoalca” (Pipil) or Olmeca-Xicallanca influences that spread during that period from the Gulf Coast to Yucatan and through the Peten rainforest as far as the Pacific coast of Guatemala ” (Borhegyi,1980: 25).

    For more evidence in favor of the Herbert Spinden Correlation visit …

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