Villagers discover ancient ball game statue in Mexico

May 21, 2013
Handout picture released by the National Institute of History and Anthropology (INAH) on May 20, 2013, showing an image of a player of a pre-Hispanic ball game, possibly dating back over 1,000 years in the State of Guerrero, Mexico.

Villagers installing a water pipe in southwestern Mexico stumbled onto an ancient granite statue depicting a player from a pre-Hispanic ball game, the national anthropology institute said Monday.

The stone had been sliced at the neck, like a decapitation, and buried in a ritual that was common at the time, the National and History Institute said in a statement.

There are indications that the 1.65-meter (5-foot-4) tall statue, which depicts a bow-legged ballplayer with his arms crossed, was built onto an I-shaped ball game field before it was buried and could be more than 1,000 years old.

Mesoamericans would paint objects in red and "kill" them by breaking them as offerings for rituals at the end of calendar cycles.

The monument was discovered in the pre-Hispanic site of Piedra Labrada, which includes five ancient ball fields in which teams battled to put a rubber ball through a circular stone by bouncing it on their hips.

The statue may have been carved by the Mixtec indigenous group around the year 600.

began to dig in the Piedra Labrada site more than a year ago and have since found 50 medium-sized buildings of up to five meters in height as well as around 20 sculptures ranging from snake heads to and humans with animal features.

The ball game fields along with temples and public squares show that Piedra Labrada was a "city with an important ritualistic role," the institute said.

Explore further: Mexican experts find ancient blood on stone knives

Related Stories

Mexican experts find ancient blood on stone knives

May 3, 2012

(AP) - Traces of blood and fragments of muscle, tendon, skin and hair found on 2,000-year-old stone knives have given researchers the first conclusive evidence that the obsidian blades were used for human sacrifice so long ...

Mexico: Mayan ball court was celestial 'marker' (Update)

October 5, 2012

Mexican archaeologists say they have determined that the ancient Mayas built watchtower-style structures atop the ceremonial ball court at the temples of Chichen Itza to observe the equinoxes and solstices, and they said ...

Mexico finds 50 skulls in sacred Aztec temple

October 6, 2012

(AP)—Mexican archaeologists said Friday they uncovered the largest number of skulls ever found in one offering at the most sacred temple of the Aztec empire dating back more than 500 years.

Mexico demands Sotheby's halt auction of artifacts

March 21, 2013

(AP)—The Mexican government demanded Wednesday that the Sotheby's auction house halt the planned sale of 51 pre-Colombian Mexican artifacts, arguing they are protected national historical pieces.

Recommended for you

French teen finds 560,000 year-old tooth (Update)

July 28, 2015

A 16-year-old French volunteer archaeologist has found an adult tooth dating back around 560,000 years in southwestern France, in what researchers hailed as a "major discovery" Tuesday.

The couple who Facebooks together, stays together

July 27, 2015

Becoming "Facebook official" is a milestone in modern romance, and new research suggests that activities on the popular social networking site are connected to whether those relationships last.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.