Rare early Mayan portrait is found

Dec 05, 2005

University of Calgary archaeologist Kathryn Reese-Taylor and an international team of researchers have discovered an early Mayan portrait of a woman.

The discovery was made earlier this year in Guatemala at the site of Naachtun, a Mayan city about 55 miles north of the more famous Mayan city of Tikal. The woman's face -- carved on a stone monument called a stela in an artistic style never before seen -- suggests women played significant roles in early Mayan politics, Reese-Taylor said.

"I've worked in the Maya area a long time and I've never seen anything like it," she said. "We have images of queens, who ruled both singly and with their husbands or sons, depicted on stelae later in Mayan history ... but this stela is completely unique in style and likely dates to the 4th century A.D."

Scientists are tantalized by the possibility she might be a mythical figure.

"If this is a patron deity, then it is extremely rare," Reese-Taylor said "When hieroglyphic texts do mention women, it is usually in the context of being either someone's mother or someone's wife."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: The stapes of a neanderthal child points to the anatomical differences with our species

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Destroyed Mosul artefacts to be rebuilt in 3D

Mar 27, 2015

It didn't take long for the scientific community to react. Two weeks after the sacking of the 300 year-old Mosul Museum by a group of ISIS extremists went viral on Youtube, researchers from the ITN-DCH, IAPP ...

Boys plagiarise more than girls at school

Mar 27, 2015

Research by the University of the Balearic Islands has analysed the phenomenon of academic plagiarism among secondary school students. The study, published in the journal Comunicar, confirms that this practi ...

User comments : 0

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.