Archaeologists conducting conservation and restoration works at Ekʼ Balam have discovered several architectural and ornamental features at the Royal Acropolis.
Ekʼ Balam is a Yucatec-Maya city within the municipality of Temozón, Yucatán, Mexico. The site was occupied from the Middle Preclassic through the Postclassic, although it ceased to thrive as a major city past the Late Classic.
Ekʼ Balam consists of 45 known structures surrounded by two concentric walls. It is theorised that the city was hastily abandoned during a period of strife and great conflict, which is supported by the discovery of a fourth wall inside the city which bisects the Great Plaza, suggesting that the wall was built as a last line of defence against invasion.
After the initial discovery of Ekʼ Balam in the late 1800s by archaeologist, Désiré Charnay, only the central core of the city has been excavated which has revealed plazas, raised platforms, temples, a bath complex, a ballcourt, and the Royal Acropolis which contains the tomb of Ukit Kan Leʼk Tokʼ, an important ruler in Ekʼ Balam who ruled from AD 770 to AD 797 or 802.
Conservation works at the Royal Acropolis by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), have uncovered several pieces of decorated architecture and ornamentation on the first and third platforms.
One of the pieces of ornamentation depicts a man carved in stone, who appears subdued with his arms tied behind his back. His hair is being pulled by another figure standing to his left, suggesting that the subdued figure is likely a warrior captured in battle.
Maya polities engaged in violent warfare for political control of people and resources. Some scholars have suggested that the capture of sacrificial victims was a driving force behind warfare.
Speaking to LaJornada Maya, Arturo Chab from INAH said: “In the Maya culture, structures were perfectly designed and decorated to represent mythological beings as well as flora and fauna that was extremely important to them”.
Header Image Credit : Astrid Sanchez | Adam Jones – CC BY-SA 3.0
This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily
New chambers discovered in Ancient Egyptian pyramid of Sahura
An Egyptian-German archaeological mission has discovered several new chambers in the pyramid of Sahura, located in the Abu Sir Pyramid Field south of Giza.
Sahura, meaning “He who is close to Re”, was a pharaoh of Ancient Egypt and the second ruler of the Fifth Dynasty (2465 BC to 2325 BC). Sahure’s reign is seen as one of economic and cultural prosperity, opening new trading links to the land of Punt and expanding the flow of goods from the Levantine coast.
Choosing not to follow the tradition of being buried in the royal necropolises of Saqqara and Giza, Sahura instead chose for his pyramid to be constructed at Abusir. Although smaller in size than the pyramids of his predecessors, Sahura’s pyramid complex was decorated with over 10,000 m2 of finely carved reliefs, some of which are considered “unparalleled in Egyptian art.”
The interior chambers of the pyramid were extensively damaged by grave robbers during antiquity, making it impossible to precisely reconstruct the substructure plan.
Image Credit : Mohamed Khaled
A restoration project led by Egyptologist Dr. Mohamed Ismail Khaled of the Department of Egyptology at Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg (JMU) has discovered a series of storage chambers and passageways. The northern and southern parts of these chambers are badly damaged, however, remnants of the original walls and parts of the floor can still be seen.
Using 3D laser scanning with a ZEB Horizon portable LiDAR scanner, the team conducted detailed surveys to map the extensive external areas and the narrow corridors and chambers inside.
According to the researchers: “Careful documentation of the floor plan and dimensions of each storage chamber has greatly enhanced our understanding of the pyramid’s interior. During restoration, a balance between preservation and presentation was pursued to ensure the structural integrity of the chambers while making them accessible for future study and potentially the public.”
During the restoration work, the project was also able to uncover the floor plan of the antechamber which had deteriorated over time. Consequently, the destroyed walls were replaced with new retaining walls. The eastern wall of the antechamber was badly damaged, and only the northeast corner and about 30 centimetres of the eastern wall were still visible.
Header Image – Pyramid of Sahura – Public Domain
Archaeologists identify runesmith who carved the Jelling Stone runes
Archaeologists using 3D scans have identified who carved the Jelling Stone runes, located in the town of Jelling, Denmark.
The first of the two Jelling stones was erected by King Gorm the Old in honour of his wife Thyra. Following this, a second stone was raised by King Gorm’s son, Harald Bluetooth, to commemorate his parents and to mark his victorious rule over Denmark and Norway, as well as his role in converting the Danish people to Christianity.
Researchers from the National Museum in Copenhagen have conducted 3D scans to analyse the carving tracks of the runes. Similar to handwriting, the carving techniques are relatively unique to each runesmith, as each stonemason holds the chisel at a certain angle and strikes with a certain force with the hammer.
By studying the angle of the chisel grooves and the distance between them, comparisons can be made with other rune stones, such as the Laeborg Runestone which stands approximately 30 kilometres southwest of Jelling
The analysis has revealed that the Laeborg Runestone has the same carving technique, which also has the inscription: “Ravnunge-Tue carved these runes after Thyra, his queen”.
Queen Thyra is mentioned in the two Jelling stones as the mother of Harald Bluetooth, wife of Gorm the Elder and “penitent of Denmark”, but Thyra’s name is also mentioned in two other runestones, that of Læborg, carved by Ravnunge-Tue in honor of Thyra, his queen, and that of Bække 1, which bears the inscription “Ravnunge-Tue and Fundin and Gnyple, the three made the stop of Thyra.”
For many years, researchers have debated whether Læborgstenen’s Queen Thyra is the same as the Thyra mentioned on the stones from Jelling.
According to the researchers: “The discovery in itself is interesting because it can link another person to the Jelling dynasty, but it is especially interesting because the realization brings with it another startling revelation, explains Lisbeth Imer, runologist and senior researcher at the National Museum.”
“It is an absolutely incredible discovery that we now know the name of the rune maker behind the Jelling stone, but what makes the discovery even wilder is that we know Ravnunge-Tue’s boss. It is Queen Thyra from Jelling, i.e. Harald Blåtand’s mother, there can no longer be much doubt about that, and that puts the discovery in a completely different light,” says Lisbeth Imer.
Header Image Credit : Shutterstock
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