1,000-year-old Mayan ball game scoreboard discovered in Mexico
A stone scoreboard, which is believed to be 1,000 years old and was used to play an ancient ritual ball game, was discovered at the famous Mayan Chichen Itza archaeological site which is located Yucatan peninsula in Mexico.
The circular object, which measures around 12.6in (32cm) in diameter and weighs 88lbs (40kg), has hieroglyphic writing inscribed around two players who can be seen standing next to a ball, as per the statement issued by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).
“In this Mayan site, it is rare to find hieroglyphic writing, let alone a complete text,” said archaeologist Francisco Perez, who has been co-ordinating the investigations taking place in the Chichanchob complex, which is also called Casa Colorada.
Describing the image engraved on the stone, archaeologist Santiago Alberto Sobrino Fernandez said “The character on the left is wearing a feathered headdress and a sash that features a flower-shaped element, probably a water lily. In line with the face is a scroll, which may be interpreted as breath or voice.”
“The opposing player wears a headdress known as a ‘snake turban’, which has been seen represented numerous times at Chichen Itza. The individual wears protective clothing for playing pelota,” he added.
The players, who have been carved on the stone, have not been identified as the match's outcome also remains unknown, the inscription's future interpretation may reveal the game's nature as well as the final score.
The discovered stone, which looks like a scoreboard, dates between AD800 and AD900.
The ancient game, which was played using a heavy rubber ball, was a part of the Mesoamerican peoples' traditional practices and it is believed that the game had ritual undertones.
The researchers working with INAH are now making preparations to capture high-resolution images of the iconography and text for the stone' detailed study, while simultaneously making preparations to conserve the scoreboard.
The Chichen Itza complex, which has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site, is among the Maya civilisation's main archaeological centres present on the Yucatan peninsula. As per the official data, the site is visited every year by around two million people from across the world.