PanaTimes

Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

Maya rulers' ashes turned into pelota balls - expert

Maya rulers' ashes turned into pelota balls - expert

Some Maya rulers may have been incinerated and their ashes mixed with rubber to make the balls used in the game of pelota, an archaeologist says.

Burnt human remains uncovered at the ruins of a Maya city have led to a new theory about the death rites of the ancient civilisation.

Archaeologist Juan Yadeun Angulo came up with the hypothesis after finding urns containing human ashes, rubber and roots at a Maya temple in Mexico.

Pelota is among the oldest team sports.

Mr Yadeun, an archaeologist with Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), has been studying a recently uncovered crypt underneath the Sun Temple at the Toniná archaeological site in southern Mexico.

Inside the underground crypt and its antechamber, archaeologists found 400 urns containing the mixture of human ashes, coal, rubber and plant roots.

Vases containing human ashes and rubber were found in a crypt 8m (26ft) underground


Mr Yadeun believes the crypt was used to burn the bodies of the dead in a religious ritual.

The ashes were then added to other organic material to make the heavy balls used in pelota, the team game played in Mesoamerica thousands of years ago, the theory goes.

The Toniná archaeological site may not be as well-known as that of Mayan ruins in Palenque but it is an impressive complex built on a hill in the jungle of Chiapas.

Among the constructions preserved to this day is the sunken ballcourt where the Maya played pelota.

The sunken ballcourt at Toniná is well preserved


According to Mr Yadeun, stone carvings at key locations inside the ballcourt offer clues that back up his theory.

He says the stone carvings suggest that three rulers, all of whom died between 722AD and 776AD, were taken to the "cave of the dead" for their "transmutation".

"Just as Egyptians tried to preserve [bodies], we know here they were transformed in another way," Mr Yadeun told Reuters news agency.

The archaeologist thinks that the Maya wanted the bodies of their rules to "be converted into a life force, something to stimulate their people" and therefore worked their ashes into the rubber used to make balls for the game.

"We have evidence they were incorporated into balls, during the Classic Period the balls were gigantic," Mr Yadeun explained.

A carved stone disc found at a different site in Chiapas suggests the size of the pelota ball in the 6th Century and how players propelled it with their hips.

The disc of Chinkultic, which dates back to 590, depicts a Maya ball player

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanaTimes
Close
0:00
0:00
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he will block Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell from serving on the House Intelligence Committee
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Germany confirms it will provide Ukraine with Leopard 2 tanks
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Opinion | Israel’s Supreme Court Claims a Veto on Democracy
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Who’s Threatening Israeli Democracy?
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies aged 54
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
FTX assets worth $3.5bn held by Bahamas securities regulator
A Republican congressman-elect is under investigation in New York after he admitted he lied about his education and work experience.
Brazilian football legend Pele, arguably the greatest player ever, has died at the age of 82.
Hong Kong to scrap almost all its Covid rules
EU calls screening of travellers from China unjustified
US imposes Covid testing for visitors from China
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Addresses Joint Session of Congress - FULL SPEECH
Where is Rishi? Chancellor Jeremy Hunt's excuses about the UK's economic challenges just don't make sense
Former FTX CEO Bankman-Fried finally arrested in Bahamas after U.S. files charges
Corruption works: House Financial Services Chair Waters doesn't plan to subpoena her donor, Sam Bankman-Fried, to testify at hearing on FTX collapse
Ronaldo's new contract...
Prince William's godmother resigns honorary royal role after exposing her/their racism
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman
Tax fraud verdict again exposes illusion of Trump the master businessman.
Yellen hints at ‘national security’ probe into Twitter purchase
Elon Musk reinstates Donald Trump's Twitter account.
Good news: US moves to shield Saudi crown prince in journalist killing
×