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Archaeology

Deity of death statue found during Maya Train construction

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Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have found an anthropomorphic statue depicting a Maya death deity from the Early Classic Period (AD 200-600)

The discovery was made during construction works of Section 7 of the Maya Train near the village of Conhuas in the Mexican state of Campeche. Conhuas is situated in close proximity to the ruins of Balamku, a Maya temple complex which contains one of the largest surviving stucco friezes from the Maya world.

The statue is sculptured from limestone and may depict Cizin, also spelled Kisin, the Maya god of death, whose name is believed to mean “Stinking One.” According to Lacandon myth, when a person dies, Cizin burns the soul on his mouth and his anus until the soul disintegrates into nothing.

The statue measures 25 centimetres in height and shows the deity with an erect tabular cranial modification in a seated position wearing a nose ring and mask. “It is a figure with stark features that appeals to mortuary motifs and would be linked to a deity of death,” said the head of the INAH.

Excavations of Section 7 on the Maya Train project, a 1,525-kilometre intercity railway that will traverse the Yucatán Peninsula, have also revealed 21,960 immovable sites that will be protected, in addition to 72,480 ceramic potsherds, 64 human burials, and 227 natural features associated with human occupation.

In April 2023, INAH archaeologists also announced the discovery of a statue of Kʼawiil during excavations of Section 7. Kʼawiil was the Maya lightning god also associated with serpents, fertility, and maize. Although depictions of Kʼawiil can be found in Maya reliefs and the Dresden and Maya codices of Mexico, only three statues of Kʼawiil have been previously discovered, all of which come from the city of Tikal in Guatemala.

INAH

Header Image Credit : INAH

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Archaeology

Elite Petén style structures found near Kohunlich

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Construction works for a road in Section 7 of the Mayan Train have uncovered elite Petén style structures near Kohunlich in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Kohunlich is a large Maya polity that served as a regional centre along the trade routes through the southern Yucatán.

The site was first settled around 200 BC, with the majority of its monuments being built between AD 250 to AD 600 during the Early Classic Period.

The city features elevated platforms, plazas, pyramids, and citadels, all enclosed by palace platforms. The layout of Kohunlich was carefully arranged to direct drainage into a network of cisterns and a massive reservoir for rainwater collection.

Construction works for a road on the periphery of Kohunlich have resulted in the discovery of elite structures in the Petén style, a distinct type of Maya architecture and inscription style.

Archaeologists have identified seven structures in total, interpreted to be elite homesteads of a domestic nature that were used for agricultural activities.

Most of the structures have a rectangular plan and vaulted rooms adorned with decorative Petén style elements.

Given their archaeological importance, experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have registered the monuments for protection.

Consequently, the planned route of the road has been redirected to preserve the structures in situ, where they will be preserved and open to the public in the near future.

Excavations also unearthed various archaeological materials, including ceramics, shells, fragments of human bone, and objects intentionally buried as offerings likely during the construction of the homesteads for protection.

Header Image Credit : Maya Train

Sources : National Institute of Anthropology and History

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Gold foils discovered in Ancient Egyptian tombs

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Archaeologists from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities have discovered rare gold foils during excavations at Tel El-Dir.

Tel El-Dir is a burial complex in the area of Egypt’s Damietta Governorate. The site contains various burials and tombs from the 26th Dynasty (664 BC to 525 BC), the last native dynasty of ancient Egypt before the Persian conquest in 525 BC.

Excavations of 63 mud brick tombs and pit burials have revealed a large collection of funerary offerings, including rare gold foils depicting Ancient Egyptian deities, and foils shaped like symbols associated with good fortune and protection.

The team also found foils in the shape of tongues, a tradition that enabled the deceased to speak before the court of Osiris in the afterlife.

Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

The discovery follows on from a previous haul in 2022, where archaeologists excavating at Tel El-Dir found gold foils depicting Isis, Bastet and Horus (in the form of a winged falcon), as well as foils in various shapes.

According to a press statement from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, many of the tombs contained funeral pyres, imported and local ceramics, and Ushabti statues (figurines placed with the deceased to serve them in the afterlife).

The excavation has also yielded a large number of funerary offerings, such as protective amulets, figurines, coins, and a mirror.

Speaking on the finds, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities explained that the objects confirm that Damietta was a centre of trade during ancient times, and provides new insights into the burial practices during the 26th Dynasty.

Header Image Credit : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

Sources : Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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