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Rare ancient Mayan vessel discovered in the path of the Tren Maya

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During the archaeological research, as part of the Tren Maya project, an ancient Chocholá-style vessel was recovered in Yucatán.

The piece is engraved with a hieroglyphic text, whose type dates from the end of the Early Classic to the Late Classic period (600 and 800 A.D.), attributed to the Oxkintok area.

INAH is working close to the works of Tren Maya, as many archeological pieces have been discovered. Photo: Courtesy

Chocholá vessels are characterized by presenting hieroglyphic text, although they don’t always present iconographic scenes.

Archaeologist Ricardo Abraham Mateo Canul, a member of the archaeological salvage team of the Tren Maya, notes that few vessels with these characteristics have been recovered in their original context, as part of the mortuary offerings.

The Chocholá style piece is engraved with hieroglyphic text attributed to the Oxkintok area. Photo: Courtesy

These types of pieces have also been found as part of waste deposits in sites of higher hierarchy, as well as in the construction landfills of lower-ranking sites.

“The different contexts encourage a broader discussion about the meaning of the vessels and the relationship they had with the ruling elite,” says Mateo Canul. “This does not rule out the idea that they were probably gifts from the ruler to his closest collaborators, as proposed by the late epigrapher, Alfonso Lacadena, in a text published in 2008”.

As a result of his studies, specialist Ricardo Abraham Mateo Canul proposes the interpretation: “El vaso del Sajal”. Photo: Courtesy

According to Mateo Canul’s epigraphic study, the text engraved on the vessel is a Standard Primary Sequence or dedicatory phrase. It consists of five glyphic cartouches, which read as follows: A1 u jay (u-ja-yi) “It is your cup”; B1 yuk’ib (yu-k’i-bi) “your vessel”; C1 ta yutal (ta-yu-ta) “for your fruity”; D1 tsihil kakawa (tsi-li-ka-wa) “fresh or new cacao”; D1 Sajal (sa-ja-la?) “from the Sajal”.

As a result of his studies, the specialist proposes the interpretation: “El vaso del Sajal”.

“It was recovered in a special context that probably corresponds to a mortuary deposit, identified as a cist, located under a stucco floor level,” says Mateo Canul. “The piece was found on its side, with the rim facing south. We also found the presence of human skeletal remains close to the vessel, that could correspond to long bones of the lower extremities.”

In Yucatán Magazine: Tren Maya leads to amazing discovery of over 8000 archaeological remains in Yucatán

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