The second largest carved jade piece was found in the unlikely place of southern Belize in 2015 and only now are experts coming to understand its significance. It is believed that the large carved jade was actually a pendant worn by a Mayan king during religious ceremonies. The pendant measures 7.4 inches wide by 4.1 inches tall by .3 inches thick. The significance of the penchant, besides having survived over a 1,000 years, is the inscription of text in front and hieroglyphs in the back.
UC San Diego archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell who found the jade piece in Nim Li Punit, located in the southern region of the Maya zone, believes this discovery “may even change what we know about the Maya” people and ceremonies. The Maya zone includes Mexico’s Chichen Itza.
It is believed the penchant was first used in A. D. 672 by a king named Janaab’ Ohl K’inich. The details around the origin of the pendant come from the Mayan inscriptions that are not fully deciphered. This is the only jade piece found with inscription giving new insight to the Mayan world. The artifact was found alongside an ancient vessel depicting a Mayan god of wind.
Braswell recently published his finding on the pendant’s significance in the Ancient Mesoamerica journal.
The Mayan Empire was one of the great ancient civilizations that encompassed what is now Mexico and parts of Central America, coming to existence around 2600 B.C. Hieroglyph writing was a cornerstone of this advanced people as well as astronomy and mathematics. The Mayan civilization started rapidly declining by A.D. 900, experts believe due to climate change both natural and man made.
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