20 July 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

A Stunning Jade mask discovered in tomb of Maya King in Guatemala

Archaeologists excavating a looted pyramid tomb in the ruins of a Mayan city in Peten, northeast Guatemala, have discovered a mysterious interlocking jade mask believed to have belonged to a previously unknown Mayan king.

Chochkitam, a little-known archaeological site, is located near the Peten Basin, a subregion of the Maya Lowlands in northwest Guatemala. The area is considered the heartland of the Maya Classic Period, which lasted from 200 to 900 AD. The site was first reported in 1909, and ongoing studies have revealed three major monumental groups linked by a long central causeway.

In ancient times, the value of jade went far beyond its material value. Mayans considered it a protector of generations, living and dead. For this reason,  jade masks were generally used to symbolize deities or ancestors, and were used to reflect the affluence and influence of the entombed individuals.

Archaeologists discovered that grave robbers had excavated a tunnel into a royal pyramid’s core following a LiDAR survey in 2021. Further inspection revealed that the intruders had overlooked a specific area within the pyramid’s inner chamber.

A human skull, and bones, some of them carved with hieroglyphs, a coffin-shaped stone box, ceramic artifacts, and funerary offerings including a pot, oyster shells, and multiple jade pieces that fit together to create a jade mask were found as a result of this oversight.

 Photo: Facebook / University of Alabama, Department of Anthropology
Photo: Facebook / University of Alabama, Department of Anthropology

The name Itzam Kokaj Bahlam is spelled out in carvings and hieroglyphs on some of the bone fragments. The researchers surmise that this name may belong to the buried Maya king who ruled Chochkitam approximately 350 AD. The most fascinating feature of all is that a carving on one of the bones shows the ruler clutching the head of a Maya deity, precisely like the assembled jade mask.

All the artifacts and bones discovered in the Chochkitam tomb were brought to the Holmul Archaeological Project (HAP) lab for cleaning and field analysis.

It was there that archaeologists put together the single blocks of jade that they had unearthed, and they were able to reconstruct an entire jade mosaic mask.

Lead archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli of Tulane University and his team discovered the burial using LIDAR mapping technology, according to an extensive article in National Geographic. The mask represents a manifestation of the Storm God worshiped by the Mayans.

Cover Photo: The discovery of a jade mask in a tomb in Guatemala might be evidence of a royal burial. Photo: Facebook / University of Alabama, Department of Anthropology

Related Articles

Roman girl adorned with 1800-year-old jewelry found in a lead coffin on Mount Scopus

9 April 2023

9 April 2023

“After the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple and the exodus of the Jewish population, late Roman Jerusalem—renamed Aelia Capitolina—had a...

The Stonehenge road tunnel is illegal, according to the High Court

23 June 2021

23 June 2021

The transport secretary’s decision to allow a road tunnel to be built near Stonehenge was unlawful, according to the high...

6000-Year-Old Salt Production House Rewrites Europe’s History

31 March 2021

31 March 2021

Archaeologists in the UK have found an ancient stone age-era salt-production house in North Yorkshire, estimated to be older even...

1,600-year-old fragment Of Enigmatic Roman Artifact Discovered In Belgium

17 February 2023

17 February 2023

A metal detectorist in Belgium discovered a piece of a mysterious bronze artifact known as a Roman dodecahedron, which is...

4 Aztec child burials unearthed in Mexico and dated to the Early Colonial period may be indicators of Aztec resistance

6 July 2022

6 July 2022

During an archaeological rescue effort in Mexico City’s historic central district of La Lagunilla, the remains of an Aztec house...

Headless skeletons discovered in Prehistoric mass grave

14 January 2023

14 January 2023

Archaeologists have found a mass grave site containing 38 decapitated burials at a Neolithic settlement in Vráble, Slovakia. The remains...

Rare Elizabethan ship discovered at a quarry

2 January 2023

2 January 2023

An Elizabethan ship in “remarkable condition” has been discovered on the lake bed of a Kent quarry, one of only...

1500-year-old Medallion Rescued From Treasure Hunters on Display in Çorum Museum

3 May 2021

3 May 2021

A 1,500-year-old gold medallion portraying a figure of Jesus Christ has been exhibited at a museum in Turkey’s northern province...

A 2000-year-old Rare Artifact was Found Near Poltava

25 May 2021

25 May 2021

Scarab beetle pendant found near the Ukrainian city of Poltava. During the building of the H-31 motorway in the Poltava...

Scandinavia’s Oldest Identified Ship Burial in Trøndelag “Rewrites History”

14 November 2023

14 November 2023

In Leka, a municipality in Norway’s Trøndelag county, archaeologists have uncovered Scandinavia’s oldest identified ship burial, dating back to around...

Was the mystery of Noceto Vasca Votiva the water ritual?

13 June 2021

13 June 2021

The Noceto Vasca Votiva is a one-of-a-kind wood building discovered in 2005 on a tiny hill in northern Italy. The...

‘Holy Grail of shipwrecks’ worth $20 billion in treasure to be raised from seabed

10 November 2023

10 November 2023

A treasure ship described as the “holy grail of shipwrecks” will reportedly be lifted from the sea floor where it...

New insights into Scotland’s ‘bodies in the bog’

31 March 2022

31 March 2022

Fourteen bodies were found at Cramond near Edinburgh in 1975. New research suggests that two of the remains of these...

A cave painting found in Egyptian Sahara depicts a nativity scene 3,000 years before Jesus’ Birth

21 December 2023

21 December 2023

5,000-year-old rock art depicting the oldest nativity scene ever found has been found in Egypt’s Sahara Desert: A newborn between...