Archaeology Magazine

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19 Stelae In Newly Discovered Maya City

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

inah-2MEXICO CITY, MEXICO—Epigraphists are excited that there are 19 inscribed stele at the newly discovered ancient Maya city of Chactun in Southeast Mexico. One stele, dubbed Stele 1, is still covered with stucco remains, which are rarely preserved in tropical climates. Hieroglyphs on the stele gives the city its name "Red Stone," or "Big Stone," and it was dedicated in 751 A.D. by a ruler named K'ihnich B'ahlam. Epigraphist Octavio Esparza says many of the stele were reused and placed in different locations long after they were first erected during the site's heyday, which lasted from 600 to 900 A.D. "Many of these pieces were placed by people who were on a pilgrimage as an act of respect," says Esparza, "although they probably didn't understand the meaning of the hieroglyphic texts."