Archaeologists discover a Mayan game marker dating back 1,000 years
(CNN) – A stone tablet used in a soccer-like game of ball has been discovered at the famous Mayan archaeological site of Chichen Itza on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, archaeologists reported this week.
It is a circular piece, with a diameter of just over 32 centimeters and a weight of 40 kilograms. The hieroglyphs appear on the stone around two players standing next to a ball, according to a statement from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).
“At this Mayan site it is rare to find hieroglyphs, let alone a complete script,” said Francisco Perez, one of the archaeologists coordinating investigations of the Chichanchobe complex, also known as Casa Colorada.
The stone, which is believed to be a Mayan game scoreboard, has been dated to between AD 800 and 900.
The ball game was a traditional practice of the peoples of Mesoamerica and is believed to have a ritual background.
The INAH researchers are now preparing to take high-resolution images of the text and images to study them in detail. Also, they prepare it for preservation.
The Chichén Itzá complex is one of the main archaeological centers of the Mayan civilization on the Yucatan Peninsula. It has also been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
According to official data, about 2 million people visit the site every year.