Saturday, November 22, 2008

Out of Context

There was a time in world history when people did not know that the act of taking artifacts from an ancient city would create serious obstacles for scholars who try to reconstruct that city's history and so people thoughtlessly grabbed them up and took them home with them. However in today's world when people are supposed to know better, the behavior still goes on. Many ancient objects from Mesoamerican are scattered in private collections and museums throughout the world, thus these objects are out of context and we don't know much about them. I tell you this as an introduction to the above article that I found on Google Books – an article that comes from a magazine called "Historical Magazine", published in 1859.

Above is a photo of an object found in Justin Kerr's online database (at that is very similar to the one described in the above article as a "large sacrificial collar in polished granite, in the form of a horse-shoe, with deities carved around it. This collar...was used for putting over the necks of the victim, when laid down on the sacrificial stone for the purposes of decapitation." Archaeologists now call these collars "yokes" and we have NO proof that they were used for sacrificial purposes.

Here is another from Justin's photo collection. If the yoke in the article above was indeed found at Palenque, it is likely that it was an heirloom of an ancient Palenqeno because it is from a different culture along the coast of Veracruz. Scholars who study the culture of Veracruz have speculated about the use of these yokes, but as of this writing, the jury is still out as to how they were used in ancient times. It is suspected that they may have had something to do with the Mesoamerican ballgame, since we see figurines with similar yokes around their waists.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Soaking Up Knowledge

I would like to introduce you to a group of people who are making substantial contributions to my education. They have patiently mentored me and have enlightened me regarding subjects that were so new to me only 5 years ago. I have taken classes from all of them (except Dr. Miller) and they each teach subjects related to either the ancient cultures of Mexico and Guatemala or they are experts in Geographic Information Systems and geography. They will be helping guide me through my research and the dissertation.

Dr. David Stuart
Webpage @:
Thanks to Jody Horton for use of the photo. Find her webpage at

Dr. Brian Stross

Webpage at

Dr. Jennifer Miller
Webpage at

Dr. William Doolittle
Webpage at

Dr. Karl Butzer
Webpage at

Dr. Fred Valdez

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Tombs of Temple XVIII

Another archaeologist's name on Linda's map is "Sáenz" (first name César). He was one of several people who worked under Ruz. The building whose plan view that you see above was excavated and consolidated by Sáenz (Temple XVIII). He found 3 tombs in this building and they were rich with jade and carved shell.

A jade pendant was found in one of the tombs.

This is a drawing showing some of its ritual deposits found in Tomb II. There were things such as bowls, jade beads and a bone carving with maya glyphs upon it.