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Archaeologists discover chacmool statue in Pátzcuaro



Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have discovered a chacmool statue in the city of Pátzcuaro, Mexico.

A chacmool is a distinctive form of Mesoamerican sculpture representing a reclining figure that may represent slain warriors carrying offerings to the gods. Individual chacmools exhibit significant variation, with heads that can face either to the right or left, and in some cases, upwards.

The original name for these sculptures is unknown, with the name “chacmool” given by Augustus Le Plongeon in 1875 based on a sculpture he and his wife unearthed in the Temple of the Eagles and Jaguars at Chichén Itzá. Le Plongeon interpreted “Chaacmol” from Yucatecan Mayan to mean “paw swift like thunder.”

Chacmool sculptures have been discovered extensively throughout Mesoamerica, spanning from Michoacán in Mexico to El Salvador. The earliest known examples of these sculptures date back to the Terminal Classic period of Mesoamerican history, approximately between AD 800 and 900.

Image Credit : Luis Punzo – INAH Michoacán Centre

Archaeologists recovered a chacmool statue in Pátzcuaro during construction works, which according to the researchers was found out of context from its original location and placed in construction fill for the development of the city.

The statue is carved from basalt and measures 90 centimetres in length by 80 centimetres in height, with a preliminary study placing the date of the statue to the Late Post-Classic Period (AD 1350 to 1521).

According to an INAH representative: “These images that we know by the Mayan name of chacmool were ritual tables in pre-Hispanic times. It has been speculated that they were used in sacrificial and offering ceremonies.”

Because of the discovery, the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico, through the INAH Michoacán Centre, has undertaken an archaeological rescue project to expand explorations in the immediate area of the statue to identify any further archaeological remains.


Header Image Credit : Luis Punzo – INAH Michoacán Centre

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Early medieval carved stone of a warrior figure found in Glasgow




Archaeologists excavating the grounds of Govan Old Church in Glasgow, England, have discovered an early medieval carved stone figure dubbed the “Govan Warrior”.

Govan Old Church is the home of the Govan Stone Museum, a collection of early medieval and Viking-Age sculptures found in the grounds, including 30 sculptures from a lost kingdom of Old Welsh-speaking Britons known as the Ystrad Clud who dominated the Clyde valley from the 5th to 11th centuries AD.

Excavations have been conducted by the University of Glasgow and Clyde Archaeology, in which a carved stone of a warrior was uncovered during a community fun day organised as part of the Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival.

The carved stone depicts a man standing side on and carrying a round shield and a shaft. According to the researchers, the discovery dates from around 1,000-years-ago and is unlike any of the other carved stones found at Govan Old.

According to a press statement by the University of Glasgow: “The Govan Warrior is unique within the existing collection due to its stylistic characteristics, which has drawn parallels with Pictish art and carvings from the Isle of Man. Unlike the other stones in the Govan collection, whose chunky style of carving is so distinctive that it has been described as a school of carving in its own right (the ‘Govan School’), the Govan Warrior is lightly incised, which may bring parallels with famous Pictish stones like the Rhynie Man from Aberdeenshire.”

Professor Stephen Driscoll said: “It’s a style that makes us think both about the Pictish world and also about the Isle of Man and it’s interesting that we are halfway between these two places. Govan is the ideal place for these two artistic traditions or styles to come together.”

University of Glasgow

Header Image Credit : Govan Heritage Trust

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Iron Age port discovered on Baltic Sea island of Gotska Sandön




An excavation project, in collaboration with archaeologists from Södertörn University, Uppsala University’s Campus Gotland, Gotland Museum, and the Swedish National Heritage Board, has led to the discovery of an Iron Age port on Gotska Sandön.

Gotska Sandön is an island and national park in Sweden’s Gotland County, situated 24 miles north of Faro in the Baltic Sea.

Earlier in 2023, archaeologists found two 2,000-year-old Roman coins on one of the island’s beaches. Both coins are made of silver, with one coin dating from AD 98-117 during the reign of Emperor Trajan, and the other coin dating from AD 138-161 during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius

In the latest excavations, archaeologists have now discovered evidence of twenty hearths on the same beach as the Roman coins discovery.

According to Johan Rönnby, a professor of marine archaeology at Södertörn University, the site is an Iron Age port, not in the sense of quays we imply in the modern era, but instead a place where Iron Age people regularly landed their boats and formed an encampment.

Although the purpose of the encampment is speculated, the researchers suggest that it may have been linked to an emerging seal hunting industry.

“Seal hunters may have come from the island of Gotland and landed on Sandön to boil seal blubber. This could have been what the hearths were used for, but we don’t yet know – there may be other reasons why the site looks like it does, such as it being a trading post,” said Rönnby.

Excavations and carbon-14 dating of one of the hearths has indicated that they also date from 2,000-years-ago, suggesting a possible link between the encampment and the Roman coins.


Header Image Credit : idw

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