Painted Maya Vault Stone Uncovered at Ek’ Balam

Mexico Painted Vault LidMEXICO CITY, MEXICO—According to a statement released by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, a block of painted stone has been found in the Yucatán in the east elevated plaza at the acropolis at Ek’ Balam. The stone had been used as a vault cover. Traces of black paint has been found on similar stones recovered at the site, revealing the names of some of the rulers of the Maya kingdom of Ek’ Balam, and construction dates for rooms of the royal palace and the acropolis. This stone, however, bears an image of a U-shaped symbol painted in red. Researchers Leticia Vargas de la Peña and Victor Castillo Borges suggest that the image may refer to the underworld, and represent a snake entering a cave with underground water. Stucco reliefs depicting captors and captives have also been recently uncovered in this part of the acropolis, the researchers concluded. To read about a carved stone marker unearthed in the Yucatán that may commemorate a particular Maya ball game, go to “A Game to Remember.”


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