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: Rare early shakespeare compilation found in small French library

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How the hummingbird achieves its aerobatic feats

4 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The sight of a tiny hummingbird hovering in front of a flower and then darting to another with lightning speed amazes and delights. But it also leaves watchers with a persistent question: How ...

'Mind the gap' between atomically thin materials

5 hours ago

In subway stations around London, the warning to "Mind the Gap" helps commuters keep from stepping into empty space as they leave the train. When it comes to engineering single-layer atomic structures, minding ...

Seychelles poachers go nutty for erotic shaped seed

5 hours ago

Under cover of darkness in the steamy jungles of the Seychelles thieves creep out to harvest the sizeable and valuable nuts of the famous coco de mer palm, and their activities are threatening its long-term ...

Recommended for you

Woolly mammoth skeleton sold at UK auction

10 hours ago

The skeleton of an Ice Age woolly mammoth fetched £189,000 ($300,000, 239.000 euros) at auction Wednesday as it went under the hammer in Britain with a host of other rare or extinct species.

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.