Large Mayan jade pendant with carved inscriptions discovered in Belize
Second largest Maya jade found in Belize has unique historical inscription
Archeologists have discovered a large piece of carved jade that once belonged to an ancient Maya king.
The jade was first unearthed in 2015 in Nim Li Punit in southern Belize and according to archaeologists; it was worn on a king’s chest during key religious ceremonies.
Geoffrey Braswell, a professor at University of California, San Diego in the US said that the t-shaped pendant is remarkable for being the second largest Maya jade found in Belize.
“It was like finding the Hope Diamond in Peoria instead of New York,” said Braswell, who led the dig.
“We would expect something like it in one of the big cities of the Maya world. Instead, here it was, far from the centre,” he further added.
The jade measures 7.4 inches wide, 4.1 inches high and is just 0.3 inches thick.
According to archaeologists, sawing it into this thin, flat form with string, fat and jade dust would have been a technical feat for the Mayans.
The jade has 30 hieroglyphs carved into the back about its first owner and is the only one known to be inscribed with a historical text.
The pendant was “not torn out of history by looters,” said Braswell.
“To find it on a legal expedition, in context, gives us information about the site and the jewel that we couldn’t have otherwise had or maybe even imagined.”
A small site in Toledo Belize, Nim Li Punit sits on a ridge in the Maya Mountains near the village of Indian Creek.
Nim Li Punit is estimated to have been inhabited between AD 150 and 850 and the sites name means “big hat.”
It was named that, after its rediscovery in 1976, for the elaborate headdress sported by one of its stone figures.