Mysterious T-Shaped Jade Maya Pendant Unearthed In Southern Belize
Archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell from the University of California, San Diego unearthed a massive but precious T-shaped jade pendant that once belonged to an ancient Mayan king.
The jade pendant found in 2015 was supposedly worn by kings on their chest during religious ceremonies during that time.
The pendant currently resides at the Central Bank of Belize along with several other national treasures.
The Jade Pendant
Considered as the second largest jade pendant to be discovered in Belize, its width is 7.4 inches while its thickness is 0.3 inches and it has a height of 4.1 inches. This in itself is a marvel to behold as the Mayans had to carve using string, fat, and jade dust.
More importantly, the pendant discovered by Braswell has carved inscriptions on its back, which coincide with 30 hieroglyphs that give a detailed account of its first owner..
Where Was The Pendant Found?
The jewelry was discovered at the Nim Li Punit archaeological site in the Toledo District of Belize. According to Braswell and his team, the place is estimated to have been inhabited by Mayans between 150 A.D. and 850 A.D.
The team also discovered a damaged tomb believed to be around 400 years old. Within the tomb the team found 25 pottery vessels along with a large piece of stone, shaped in the form of a deity and several priceless jade pectorals.
Archeologists were surprised to find the pendant in Nim Li Punit and not in one of the other areas known to be the bigger cities inhabited by the Mayans.
What Can Be Learned From The Pendant?
The front portion of the T-shaped jade pendant was also carved with "T," which according to experts describes the Mayan glyph "ik," which means "wind and breath."
Braswell also said that based on the inscriptions at the back of the pendant, it can be construed that it was first used in 672 A.D. in a ritual performed by the Maya kings to bring the wind and the rains.
"A recent theory is that climate change caused droughts that led to the widespread failure of agriculture and the collapse of Maya civilization," says Braswell. This may indicate why the kings prayed for rain.
The T-shaped pendant also revealed information about a king named Janaab' Ohl K'inich. According to the hieroglyphs, the king's mother was from Cahal Pech in western Belize, 60 miles from Nim Li Punit. The hieroglyphic text also implied that the king's father died at the age of 20 and came from Guatemala. The pendant also revealed information about the crowning ceremony of the king in 647 A.D.
Details about the significance of the T- shaped pendant have been published in the Cambridge University's journal Ancient Mesoamerica.