Historical inscription found on a Maya jade pendant

A jade pendant was discovered in Nim Li Punit, Belize. It is the second largest Maya jade found in the country, and dates back to AD 672. It was once worn on the chest of a Maya king and contains description of the king’s parentage.

The Maja jade pendant (by University of California – San Diego)

The jade pendant was found in Nim Li Punit, in the Maya Mountains, near the contemporary village of Indian Creek. The site is estimated to have been inhabited between 150-850 AD. Its ancient name might be “Wakam” or “Kawam“, but this is not certain. The pendant is in the shape of a T, and was buried in a T-shaped platform, along with a vessel with a beaked face, probably depicting a Maya god of wind. The precious gem made of carved jade measures 19 centimetres wide, 10 centimetres high and just 8 milimeters thick. According to the archaeologists that it’s the only one known to be inscribed with a historical text, as carved into the pendant’s back are 30 hieroglyphs about its first owner, the Maya king.

The site of excavations (by University of California – San Diego)

The inscription on the back of the pendant is still being analysed as Mayan script is not yet fully deciphered or agreed upon. But the text tells the story of the jewel’s owner. It was made for the king Janaab’ Ohl K’inich and used in 672 AD for an incense-scattering ceremony.. The kings mother is mentioned as originating from Cahal Pech, a distant site in western Belize. The king’s father died before aged 20 and may have come from somewhere in Guatemala. It describes the accession rites of the king in 647 AD and ends with a passage that possibly links the king to the powerful and immense Maya city of Caracol, located in modern-day Belize.

(after University of California – San Diego, PhysOrg & Daily Mail Online)

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