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Carvings of Maya Ball-Game Players Found in Belize

Friday, September 29, 2017

Tipan Ballplayer PanelCAYO DISTRICT, BELIZE—According to a report in Live Science, two stone panels engraved with images of the Maya ball game have been discovered at the site of Tipan Chen Uitz by Christopher Andres of Michigan State University and his colleagues. The table-sized engravings, thought to date to between A.D. 600 and 800, may have been part of the façade at the entrance to the city’s palatial complex. The first carving shows a large ball and a ball player wearing a protective belt. Hieroglyphics refer to a “nine-hand-span ball,” but the researchers don’t know if the measurement refers to the piece of latex used to make the ball, or to the size of the finished object. The second panel also shows a man wearing a protective belt. He is lunging forward, braced against his left knee. The image may depict a player attempting to strike a ball, the researchers said. His name, which has also been seen at a ball court in Naranjo, a Maya city in Guatemala, was included on the panel as well. The two carved names could refer to the same person. Architectural evidence also suggests a link between the two cities. To read about the burial of a Maya ruler in Guatemala, go to “Tomb of the Vulture Lord.

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