Stela of Ity

Stela of Ity


Stele

A stele ( / ˈ s t iː l i / STEE -lee), [Note 1] or occasionally stela (plural stelas or stelæ), when derived from Latin, is a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected in the ancient world as a monument. The surface of the stele often has text, ornamentation, or both. These may be inscribed, carved in relief, or painted.

Stelae were created for many reasons. Grave stelae were used for funerary or commemorative purposes. Stelae as slabs of stone would also be used as ancient Greek and Roman government notices or as boundary markers to mark borders or property lines. Stelae were occasionally erected as memorials to battles. For example, along with other memorials, there are more than half-a-dozen steles erected on the battlefield of Waterloo at the locations of notable actions by participants in battle. [1]

Traditional Western gravestones may technically be considered the modern equivalent of ancient stelae, though the term is very rarely applied in this way. Equally, stele-like forms in non-Western cultures may be called by other terms, and the words "stele" and "stelae" are most consistently applied in archaeological contexts to objects from Europe, the ancient Near East and Egypt, [2] China, and sometimes Pre-Columbian America.


Contents

The name Yaxha derives from the Mayan yaxa', which means "blue-green water". [2] Yaxha is notable for the survival of its toponym from the Classic period, when it was a thriving city. [3] David Stuart first proposed that the emblem glyph of the site should be read Yax-ha and that the name of the city (and the lake) is of ancient origin. [2]

Located in the modern-day department of Petén, northern Guatemala, it is approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) southeast of Tikal [4] Yaxha is situated on the north shore of Lake Yaxha [3] the ruins extend roughly 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) along a hilltop parallel to the lake shore. [5] The ruins fall within the borders of the Yaxha-Nakum-Naranjo National Park, [6] which encompasses an area of 37,160 hectares (143.5 sq mi) and incorporates the remains of four ancient Maya cities: Yaxha, Topoxte, Nakum and Naranjo, as well as 10 intermediate sites and more than 280 smaller settlements. [7]

Name Ruled
K'inich Lakamtuun c.799 [8]

Preclassic Edit

Yaxha was already significant in the Late Preclassic (c. 350 BC – AD 250), and was a large site as far back as the Middle Preclassic (c. 1000–350 BC). [9] Archaeological investigations indicate that the earliest, Middle Preclassic, settlement was in what developed into the southern and western sectors of the city. In the Late Preclassic the city became the largest settlement in the Yaxha-Sacnab basin, with a marked increase in population and in construction activity. [10]

Early Classic Edit

The city reached the height of its power during the Early Classic period of Mesoamerican chronology (c. AD 250–600), during which period the city expanded enormously. [11] The city's Early Classic monuments are poorly preserved, meaning that the history of its period of maximum power is poorly understood. [4] The influence of the distant metropolis of Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico is evident in Early Classic imagery following Teotihuacan's decisive intervention at Tikal in AD 378. [12] At the end of the Early Classic, seismic activity caused movement of the Yaxha Fault, resulting in damage to buildings in the East Acropolis. The same earthquake appears to have caused damage across the city and at neighbouring Nakum. [13] The earthquake may have resulted in the temporary abandonment of the East Acropolis. [14]

During this period the city established itself as an important centre on the trade routes that crossed the Petén lakes region. [14]

Late Classic Edit

In the Late Classic (c. AD 600–900) the city developed with major construction projects taking place across the city centre, [15] especially during the 8th century the twin pyramid complex is an example of one of the major construction projects undertaken at this time. [14] At this time the city became an important trading centre to the southeast of the great city of Tikal. [16] During the Late Classic the city fought several wars against the neighbouring city of Naranjo, which had eclipsed Yaxha in power but was never able to complete dominate it. [11] In 710, king K'ak' Tiliw Chan Chaak of Naranjo sacked Yaxha, captured its king and sacrificed him. [17]

In the latter 8th century, king K'ak' Ukalaw Chan Chaak of Naranjo took a Yaxha princess as his wife Lady Shell Star provided the king with his heir. [18] This heir was unable to maintain peace between the cities and Itzamnaaj K'awiil of Naranjo went to war against Yaxha and its allies in AD 799, launching assaults against his mother's city in July and September of that year, some months after defeating a number of Yaxha's satellites. [19] He managed to capture K'inich Lakamtuun, Yaxha's king. [8]

Terminal Classic Edit

There is no evidence of the rapid collapse of the Yaxha polity in the Terminal Classic (c. AD 800–900) as took place at other cities in the vicinity. Instead there is evidence of renewed and widespread construction activity. It is apparent that the local elite made every effort to prolong the city's Late Classic political system. Some entry controls to the city were removed in order to encourage the flow of visitors to Yaxha from surrounding areas that were more immediately affected by the Classic Maya collapse. [16]

Postclassic Edit

During the Postclassic (c. 900–1525) there is some evidence of activity at the site associated with the inhabited islands of Lake Yaxha but these were not in any way associated with occupation of the city itself, rather consisting of pieces of ceramic and food refuse left at the city by the islanders. [20]

Modern history Edit

Teoberto Maler first reported Yaxha's existence after visiting the ruins in 1904. The Carnegie Institution of Washington mapped the ruins in the 1930s and the site was again mapped in the early 1970s, at which time test excavations were undertaken. [4] The Proyecto Nacional Tikal ("National Tikal Project") carried out a survey of architectural damage at Yaxha in 1987 and in 1988 the first work was undertaken in order to stabilise some of the structures. [5] Archaeological excavations have continued into the 21st century [21] The South Acropolis was excavated from 2005 through to 2007. [6] The early 21st century excavations of Yaxha formed a part of the Peten Sustainable Development Programme (Programa de Desarrollo Sostenible de Petén) funded by the Banco Interamericano de Desarollo (Inter-American Development Bank). [22]

Yaxha is the third largest ruin in Guatemala, with only Tikal and El Mirador being larger. [11] The centre of the city consisted of a number of plazas and architectural groups, with outlying groups and the lake shore linked by causeways. [4] The main architectural groups are the Maler Group to the north, linked to the central area by the Blom Causeway the South (or Main) Acropolis, the West Group, the Northeast Acropolis, the East Acropolis and a number of plazas and lesser groups make up the site core. The city was linked to the shore of Lake Yaxha by the Lake Causeway. Plaza A is a twin pyramid complex. [23] Ten main communication routes have been identified in the city, with the four principal routes having been classified as causeways by archaeologists, with the remainder classed as "vias". [5] Yaxha was more densely occupied than most other Maya cities. [24]

The site has more than 500 structures, [24] including about 40 stelae, [24] 13 Altars, 9 temple pyramids, 2 Mesoamerican ballcourts, and a network of sacbeob (causeways) that connect the central, northern (Maler), and eastern 'acropoleis', and the Lake causeway that was the main entrance in the past. The top of Temple 216 (restored) provides a view of the two lakes on one side and the jungle and the stepped-pyramids on the other.

Yaxha possesses one of very few twin pyramid complexes outside of Tikal the fact that the site holds a twin-pyramid complex provides a visible insight into the political alliances that eventually influenced the architectural style of the city at its peak, [11] although it appears that the complex at Yaxha was unfinished. [3]

Architectural groups Edit

Plaza A is a twin pyramid complex to the north of the East Acropolis. [25] It was built during the 8th century AD. [14]

Plaza B is on the west side of the East Acropolis. [26]

Plaza C is an E-Group astronomical complex to the southeast of the site core, [27] linked to the city centre by the Lincloln Causeway. Three Early Classic stelae were erected on the east side of the plaza. [24]

Plaza D is in the site core, at the northwest end of the Lincoln Causeway and immediately north of the South Acropolis. It is bordered to the north by the Northeast Acropolis. [28]

Plaza E is situated in the site core, on the north side of the South Acropolis and linked to it via a stairway rising from the plaza. [29]

The East Acropolis is on the east side of the city centre, to the south of the Twin Pyramid Complex. [26] It occupies the highest area of the city and is surrounded by Plazas A, B and C. The area that was to become occupied by the East Acropolis was first levelled from the limestone bedrock in the Middle Preclassic. [25] In the Preclassic the East Acropolis was laid out as a triadic pyramid complex but was radically modified during the Early Classic. [30] In its final form the East Acropolis formed a closed complex with twelve structures covering a total area of 8,100 square metres (87,000 sq ft). The main buildings of the East Acropolis were Structure 216, a pyramid-temple, and Structure 218, a palace. [21] The East Acropolis plaza featured a west-facing monumental stairway built in the Late Preclassic and remodelled in the Late Classic. [13] The first version of the temple was built in the Late Preclassic, while the earliest version of the palace dates to the Early Classic. [31] The East Acropolis appears to have been temporarily abandoned at the end of the Early Classic due to destruction caused by an earthquake, [14] but was reoccupied and developed during the course of the Late Classic. During the Terminal Classic (9th century AD) great quantities of ash and domestic ceramics were deposited in the East Acropolis. [32] At this time a small platform was built against Structure 219, which blocked access to the southwestern terrace of the complex. [33]

The Northeast Acropolis dates back to the Late Preclassic and incorporates an arrangement that includes a triadic pyramid forming a part of an E-Group astronomical complex. [34]

The South Acropolis, sometimes referred to as the Main Acropolis, was built upon a high karstic hill. It had a long history, with construction starting at the end of the Middle Preclassic period and continuing through to the Terminal Classic. [35] The acropolis is a complex consisting of six patio groups upon an artificial platform and includes a Mesoamerican ballcourt (Ballcourt 1). [6] The patios are separated by corbel-vaulted structures that were probably elite residences the exception is Structure 363, which is a temple between Patio 5 and Patio 6. [36] The South Acropolis is located in the southern portion of the site core near the junction of various causeways and vias. The acropolis is bordered on the north side by the ballcourt and plazas D and E. It is bordered on the western side by Via 5 and on the southern side by Via 6. In its final form during the Terminal Classic the basal platform formed an irregular rectangle measuring 200 metres (660 ft) east-west by 100 to 120 metres (330 to 390 ft) north-south. The platform had stepped levels and rounded corners [6] the principal access appears to have been a stairway on the west half of the north side, which linked Plaza E with Patios 5 and 6 of the acropolis. [36] Excavations of the acropolis took place in 1996 and 2006 excavators found evidence of earlier archaeological investigation that had not been recorded and suggested professional investigation in the 1970s. [37]

The Maler Group is located to the north of the site core, linked to it by the Blom Causeway. [26]

Structures Edit

Structure 216 is a large pyramid on the east side of Plaza A upon the East Acropolis. The remains of the temple shrine still stand upon the pyramidal base and the total height of the structure is over 30 metres (100 ft), making it the tallest structure at Yaxha. [38] The earliest structure on the site was the plaza platform raised in the Late Preclassic, which consisted of a five-stepped platform with talud walls and an inset 17.5-metre (57 ft) wide west-facing monumental stairway, consisting of 32 steps, each with a 0.45 metres (1.5 ft) tread and a 0.35 metres (1.1 ft) riser. This Late Preclassic phase stood about 11 metres (36 ft) high. [31] In the Early Classic a new version of the structure was built (Structure 216 sub 1). It was a stepped platform, like its predecessor, although the stairway of the new version projected westwards, possibly flanked by balustrades. The maximum height of this construction phase was 22.75 metres (74.6 ft). [39] In the 8th century AD a new version of Structure 216 was built, rising to a height of 23.25 metres (76.3 ft). The pyramid base had eight stepped levels with rounded corners and featured a projecting stairway. The summit shrine had three doorways and two inner chambers. Stela 41 was raised at the base of the stairway. [14] An offering was found in the fill under the first chamber of the temple that consisted of seven eccentrics, five of them crafted from obsidian and two from flint, and a piece of mother of pearl. [33]

Structure 217 is a palace-type structure at the north end of Structure 218 in the East Acropolis. The first phase of construction dates to the Early Classic. [39] In the 8th century the structure was redesigned. It stood upon a basal platform with slightly inclined walls. The structure had two vaulted chambers and was accessed via an east-facing stairway. [14] In the 9th century the base of the structure was dressed with masonry. [33]

Structure 218 is a palace-type structure in the East Acropolis. [21] The earliest version of the building dates to the Early Classic period (Structure 218 sub 1A) and had a long room with a corbel-vaulted roof. The structure had multiple east-facing doorways, possibly five, and two narrow doorways in the centre of the western facade. Traces of red pigment survive on the cornice. The location and characteristic of this Early Classic phase lead archaeologists to believe that it was built slightly after the Early Classic phase of Structure 216 (sub 1). The building was remodelled a number of times in the Early Classic. Stage 1B consisted in the division of the room into three chambers, the addition of a bench inside the north chamber and the addition of small zoomorphic masks to the sunken panels of the cornice. Phase 1C consisted of the addition of a small platform to the western facade. The Early Classic substructure has suffered subsidence at the southern end due to movement of a geological fault. [39] Stage 2A dates to the Late Classic, during the 8th century AD. The western facade became the main facade, the height of the corbel vaulting was reduced and the previous structure was filled. Structure 218 Sub 2A measured 36.5 metres (120 ft) long and was raised upon a 1.85 metres (6.1 ft) high platform. Like the earlier version, it had a long room with a vaulted ceiling the walls were 1 metre (3.3 ft) thick and the interior vaulting was 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) high. The building featured decorated cornices. The total heigh of the building as measured from the plaza floor may have been over 6.5 metres (21 ft). The rear, east, side of Stage 2A consisted of three plain, stepped levels. Two benches were built against the corners, possibly to disguise the subsidence that occurred as a result of the earlier earthquake. [14] An offering was deposited underneath the central chamber it consisted of 9 grey obsidian eccentrics, 14 flint eccentrics, a spondylus shell, a small fragment of greenstone and carbon remains mixed with unidentified vegetable fibres. [40] The following stage, denominated 2B by archaeologists, also dates to the 8th century and consisted of the unification of Structure 218 with the neighbouring structures 217 and 219, creating a new facade with nine doorways. [41] Three vaulted chambers were added to the east facade, with spacing between them the north and south chambers (A and B) were built over the earlier benches. The central chamber (Chamber C) had flanking stairways. The talud wall between chambers A and C had the remains of a giant mask but the upper section of the wall was demolished by the Terminal Classic occupants of the city. The remains of painted murals were discovered in the interior of the central chamber of the palace, using red, blue, black and yellow pigments. The murals were badly damaged but apparently depicted human figures performing actions near a palace and a ballcourt. A high status Late Classic burial (Burial YX-08) was also found in Structure 218, buried in a cist in front of the main entrance. [40] Four individuals were interred to the south of this principal burial during the Terminal Classic. They were not buried in cists and were unaccompanied by offerings. The bones belonged to individuals of varying ages and gender. At this time, during the 9th century AD, a three-chambered building with a perishable roof was built upon the upper platform of the structure the chambers were linked by doorways. The only access to the building was via a narrow, sunken stairway built directly over the earthquake fissure. In its final form Structure 218 stood 38 metres (125 ft) high, with four stepped platforms supporting the superstructure. The final remodelling of the building resulted in the blocking of the top of the stairway with a wall. [33]

Structure 219 is another palace-type structure at the south end of Structure 218 in the East Acropolis. The first phase of construction dates to the Early Classic. [39] In the 8th century Structure 219 was rebuilt in a very similar manner to Structure 217, with two vaulted chambers upon a basal platform and an east-facing stairway. [14] During the 9th century, in the Terminal Classic, the base of the structure was dressed with masonry and two small platforms were added to the southeastern portion of the building, one against the north side and the other against the southeastern corner. [33]

Structure 363 is a temple located between Patio 5 and Patio 6 of the South Acropolis. [36] A stone monument was placed in front of the west facade of the temple the placement of such a monument within an acropolis complex is unusual. [29]

Causeways Edit

The Lake Causeway (Calzada del Lago in Spanish) runs north from the lake shore to the city centre, where it continues as Via 5. The total length of the causeway and the via is around 400 metres (1,300 ft). The Lake Causeway was designed to allow the rapid movement of goods and people between the city and the lake, and easy access to water. The Lake Causeway probably developed from a Middle Preclassic pathway that ran between the shore and the early settlement. The earliest version of the Lake Causeway was built in the Late Preclassic it was about 10 metres (33 ft) wide and was raised 0.5 metres (1.6 ft) above natural ground level. The Via 5 continuation did not exist in the Late Preclassic, when the later city centre had not yet developed. [42] During the Late Classic the causeway was further developed and extended with the formal construction of Via 5 running across the site core. The point where the two met was deliberately narrowed with the construction of flanking buildings and is likely to have been a guardpost where access to the site core was controlled. [15] It is likely that travellers and goods arriving at the city were inspected and taxed at this control point. [16] At its narrowest point the entrance from the causeway to Via 5 was just 2 metres (6.6 ft) wide. Parapets were erected flanking the Lake Causeway they stood approximately 1 metre (3.3 ft) high and varied from 2 to 3 metres (6.6 to 9.8 ft) wide. The southern extreme of the causeway was modified with the construction of a stucco-covered platform with masonry walls defining the east and south sides. From the southern end of the causeway to the union with Via 5 there is an approximate difference in altitude of more than 50 metres (160 ft). There is some evidence that steps were carved from the limestone bedrock where the southern platform met the Lake Causeway. [15] During a second phase of construction in the Late Classic, the southern platform was enlarged to measure 32 metres (105 ft) east-west by 19 metres (62 ft) north-south. The platform was supported on the south and east sides by refurbished talud walls coated in stucco. The causeway itself was redesigned as a long ramp that joined the southern platform with the city centre and the junction with Via 5. In the Terminal Classic (c. AD 800–900) the southern end of the Lake Causeway was re-dressed with limestone fill. The stepped sides of the southern platform were filled in and covered with stone to form ramps. At about this time Stela A, a plain monument, was erected on the platform. Also in the Terminal Classic the restrictions at the north end of the causeway where it met Via 5 were removed the whole area was levelled with finely dressed stone and mortar that left the access free for the entire width of the causeway. Ceramic remains recovered from the Lake Causeway are scarce and poorly preserved due to the strong waterflow along the incline caused during the rain season, resulting in artefacts being eroded and washed downhill towards the lake. [20]

The Blom Causeway (Calzada Blom in Spanish) runs north from the city centre to the Maler Group. [43]

The Galindo Causeway (Calzada Galindo in Spanish) runs north–south between the East Acropolis (at the north end) and Plaza C (at the south end). [26]

The Lincoln Causeway (Calzada Lincoln in Spanish) runs southeast from the city centre to Plaza C. [26]

Monuments Edit

Approximately 40 Maya stelae have been recovered at Yaxha, half of which were plain monuments without sculpted faces. [24]

Stela A is a plain stela that was raised upon the platform at the southern (lake-side) end of the Lake Causeway during the Terminal Classic. [20]

Stela 3 is the northernmost of the three stelae erected on the east side of Plaza C. It dates to the Early Classic period and is stylistically related to the Izapan culture of the Pacific coast. It is poorly preserved and only the lower panel survives it bears a similarity to the equivalent panel on Stela 4. [24]

Stela 4 is the central stela on the east side of Plaza C and is the best preserved of the three Early Classic monuments. It bears the sculpted image of a standing figure with left-facing feet standing upon a grotesque head. Two hieroglyphs are carved to the left of the figure's knees. [24] One of the glyphs preserved on Stela 4 is the Emblem Glyph of Yaxha. [30]

Stela 5 is the southern stela of the three on the east side of Plaza C. It is badly eroded but has been dated to AD 357, making it the earliest dated monument at the city. [24]

Stela 8 is found in the Maler Group. It dates to the Early Classic and is poorly preserved with only the lower portion surviving. [38]

Stela 10 is situated in the Maler Group. It is badly damaged with only the lower portion surviving. It has been dated to the Early Classic. [38]

Stela 11 is a well preserved Early Classic monument on the east side of Plaza B, [38] at the base of Structure 218 in the East Acropolis. [30] The style of the stela is that of Teotihuacan, with the sculpted figure of a warrior with the attributes of Tlaloc, the central Mexican rain deity. [45] The figure bears characteristic eye rings, and a butterfly ornament over the mouth, and wears a feathered headdress. The warrior carries a spear and a shield. The monument is very similar to Stela 32 from Tikal and is associated with the intervention of Teotihuacan in the Petén region during the Early Classic period. [30]

Stela 13 was a sculpted monument but it has been broken into fragments, although much of the sculpture is preserved. The text on the stela includes a date in 793, the latest recorded date at the city. The stela was erected at the base of the West Pyramid of the Twin Pyramid Complex. [38] Stela 13 bears the image of a king of Yaxha together with a text describing the celebration of an equinox. [30]

Stela 30 is the northernmost of two stelae found in Plaza E. It is broken in two pieces. It dates to the Early Classic. [38]

Stela 31 is located in Plaza E. It dates to the Late Classic and depicts an ornate figure with a large headdress. The monument is badly damaged and broken into several pieces. [38]

Stela 36 is a badly eroded monument on the west side of Plaza B. [46]

Stela 41 was raised at the base of the access stairway of Temple 216 in the 8th century AD. [14] The monument is missing its butt, and may not be in its original location all four sides are sculpted in an Early Classic iconographic style. The front face of the stela has two masks facing to the left and an anthropomorphic figure wearing a bracelet of a type used from the end of the Late Preclassic through to the Early Classic. The hieroglyphic inscriptions on the north and south faces of the stela are eroded but include a glyph that could be the Emblem Glyph of Yaxha. [30]

Burial YX-08 was excavated from in front of the main entrance to Structure 218, a palace-type building in the East Acropolis. The remains were deposited in a cist and possibly belonged to a member of the city's elite. The remains were those of a young adult male in his early twenties, interred lying upon his back with his skull towards the north. [40] The skull was deformed and the upper incisors were artificially modified with jade incrustations. [47] Two pieces of sculpted jade were found near the neck, one of them a square plaque inscribed with an anthropomorphic figure. Both of the jade pieces had traces of red pigment. [33]


Contents

The area of Naranjo covers at least 8 km² with the urban center covering about 2.25 km². [2] There are currently 389 recorded buildings in the central area and over 900 around the center. [1]

The epicenter consists of six triadic complexes, two ballcourts, two palace compounds, and one E-group. C-9 is the largest triadic complex in the city. Structure C-9 is the complexes main pyramid, and the Largest at the site. Because it occupies the top of a natural hill with a cave located inside, it is a perfect place to be categorized as a ‘sacred mountain’. [5]

A hieroglyphic stairway, that is believed to have been taken from Caracol, was added to structure B-18 sometime in the seventh century AD. [6]

The site was first mapped and photographed by Teoberto Maler in 1905, who was sent by The Peabody Museum of Harvard University. [7] In 1908 Maler excavated the hieroglyphic stairway from structure B-18, [6] parts of which are now housed in the British Museum [8] in London. In the 1910s, further investigations of the site were made by Sylvanus G. Morley and Oliver Ricketson. [7]

Investigations of the site of Xunantunich suggests that it was part of Naranjo's realm. [3]

By the 1920s, many of the ancient sculptures had already disappeared. The problem worsened in the 1960s, when many of the site's large sculptures were smashed into fragments by looters in order to sneak them out of the country. [2]

In 1972-1973, 19 stela were taken from Naranjo by the Department of Prehispanic Monuments of the IDAEH to be protected from looters. [2]

From 1997 to 2001 the site was controlled by looters. From 2002 to 2004, a project was undertaken to evaluate the extent of the looting which found about 270 tunnels and trenches. Archaeologist Vilma Fialko has been instrumental in this project. [2]

A conservation project by the Ministry of Culture and Sport began in 2002. In 2006 Naranjo was added to the World Monuments Watch. [1]

In 2013, a building from about 600 AD was found at nearby Holmul with a giant stucco frieze showing a central ruler and two flanking ones in repose. The frieze is very well preserved. Below it runs a long inscription from which it appears that the construction was commissioned by Aj Wosal of Naranjo. At the time, Naranjo was subordinated to the Kaanul dynasty of Dzibanche and Calakmul. [9]

The history of Naranjo includes several major disturbances in the dynastic rule when allegiances and identities of local kings were subject to change. Texts at the site record a mythical founding of the city by its patron god. [3]

Not much is known about the site before the ruler Aj Wosal who came to power in 546 AD. [5] The sites of La Sufricaya and Holmul to the north of Naranjo were involved in the establishment of the new political order in Peten after the arrival of Siyaj K’ahk' in AD 378. It is plausible to assume that Naranjo might also be under the sway of Siyaj K'ahk's hegemony and later Tikal rulers. If there were any monuments from that time, they were destroyed and/or cached.

In 546 AD Naranjo came under the control of Calakmul whose ruler Tuun Kab Hix appointed Aj Wosal. This was a deliberate move by Calakmul to take allies away from Tikal. In 626 two attacks were made on Naranjo by Caracol. Naranjo was then retaken by Calakmul in 631. Naranjo defeated Caracol in 680 AD in a "star war" sending Caracol into a hiatus period. [3]

In 682 AD, Calakmul sent Lady Six Sky, also known as Wak Chanil, to reestablish the Naranjo dynasty. [3] Her arrival is written on stela 24 found in front of Structure C-7. [5] Lady Six Sky was the daughter of the Dos Pilas ruler B'alaj Chan K'awiil. While never officially made a ruler, Lady Six Sky performed as a ruler, possibly as regent for her son K'ak' Tiliw Chan Chaak who acceded in 693 AD at the age of five, although no known inscription explicitly establishes this relationship. Between 693 and 698 AD Naranjo carried out a series of at least eight attacks, likely under the rule of Lady Six Sky, defeating Tikal in 695 AD and Ucanal in 698 AD. K'ak' Tiliw Chan Chaak began another series of attacks in 706 AD including the defeat of Yaxha in 710 AD. Lady Six Sky died in 741 AD, she is depicted on stelas 3, 18, 24, 29, and 31. [3]

Naranjo was defeated by Tikal in 744 AD and the ruler, Yax Mayuy Chan Chaak was taken captive and likely sacrificed during Tikal's victory celebrations. [3]

Naranjo's downfall may have been the result of political turmoil and a severe drought dated to 810 AD. [3]


Who were the Hyksos? Where did they come from? . and where did they disappear to?

"Contested" would be a better way of describing it.

We're drifting some distance away from the original question of the Hyksos, but I'll try explain what I mean.

If you recall the record of Piye (Piankhy) when he pushed north into the Delta, he faced foreigners, he described his enemies as /mHtj/ = "northerners". We are most fortunate that Piye identifies specific cities that rebelled against him. So, we have no trouble in identifying the northland/northerners. You may recall the city of Per-Ramesses was described as "the city of the Northland".
The current maps of the Delta show a curved coastline extending out into the Mediterranean, this did not exist in the 2nd millennium, in fact Lake Manzelah did not exist that far back. We know all this thanks to the work of Bietak and the core soundings he took across the eastern Delta.
There are also delta survey's by van Wetering, and by the Western Delta Survey, which have demonstrated over 700 ancient tells most of which were islands/gezirah's especially in flood season.

If you notice Ramesses III refers to his Asiatic enemies as 'rebels', but in their view they are independent. This reflects the contention between the long-time enemies of Egypt in the far north, & Pharaoh.
Ramesses talks about these 'rebels' as "restless in their isles", that they make a conspiracy "in their isles". He also explains how these "foreign countries" came from their isles in the midst "Hry-ib" = "within/inside" the sea/delta.

Hannig, in his huge hieroglyphic dictionary accepts that /mHtj/ refers to inhabitants within 'traditional' Egypt, but on the fringe. Not, as many have assumed over the decades a reference to northern peoples outside Egypt.

The coastal approaches of the delta were described by the Greeks as unsettled with many sandbanks, marshland, a terrible place, the haunt of pirates, etc.

It would appear Asiatics, Libyans & perhaps Aegeans had been occupying these peripheral regions for many centuries, so quite possibly the so-called Hyksos had always been there in various numbers since the Old kingdom.

I have lost you for a while because of a matter of transliteration regarding the mHtj. I know mHt and mHty [it's the same].
mHt was the term they used to indicate the marshes of the Delta and mHty was they word for "Northern" or simply "North".
For accuracy, phonetically mHt [with a different spelling: V22-X1-N35A] was also the word which indicated the flood waters.


Stela of Ity - History

A Mayan ruler in ritual dress, Stela 51, Calakmul, Campeche, Mexico, 731 C.E., (Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico D.F.)

Kings in stone

In 1839, American lawyer and amateur archaeologist John Lloyd Stephens and English artist Frederick Catherwood were the first outsiders to venture into the rainforests of Central America. They brought back their romanticized accounts and drawings of the remains of ancient Maya civilization to an eager England. In their publications, Stephens and Catherwood conveyed that they had uncovered the ruins of a great civilization that was uniquely American—one that had developed without contact with Egypt, India, or China.

Solemn and strange

Among the many strange and wonderful sites they encountered, it was the monuments that most aroused their interest and sparked their Victorian sensibility for engaging past civilizations. In regard to these hefty carved stones, Stephens penned the following excerpt, “standing as they do in the depths of the forest, silent and solemn, strange in design, excellent in sculpture, rich in ornament…their uses and purposes and whole history so entirely unknown….”

Over the past thirty years, scholars have made substantial advances in understanding the “uses and purposes” of Maya stone sculptures, and of the ancient peoples that produced them. This progress is due in no small part to developments in the decipherment of Maya hieroglyphics, which has escalated in recent decades. Epigraphers and art historians have labored to reconstruct the history and culture of the flourishing Classic period (c. 250-900 C.E.) expressed on the sculptures found throughout México, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Belize.

We now understand that the sculptors who chiseled these monuments were commissioned by privileged elites who lorded over vast city-states. These regional political and geographic partitions were dominated by singular powerful city-centers that vied for control of land and resources. Such cities were immense, and within them architects built grand pyramids and temples embellished with sculptures. Sculpted stone was an enduring record, and as early explorers witnessed, the remains of hundreds of carved monoliths still grace the ruins of these ancient Maya cities.

A medium for political and religious rhetoric

Portrait of ’18-Rabbit’ from Stela A, Copán, Honduras, 731 C.E. (photo adapted: Dennis Jarvis)

The stone monuments over which Stephens and Catherwood marveled were crucial to the social and political cohesion of ancient Maya city-states. While small-scale art objects were cloistered behind the walls of privileged homes and courts, larger stone sculptures served as the principal medium for presenting political and religious rhetoric to the public.

The most vital and imposing format was the stela—an upright flat slab of stone worked in relief on one, two, or four faces. Their placement at the base of immense pyramids or in open plazas facing small stage-like platforms suggests that they were intended to be viewed by vast audiences in conjunction with other public spectacles. These lakam-tuun “banner stones,” conveyed a broad and complex set of ideologies concerning royal history and politics, ceremonial activity, and calendrical reckoning. Their just-over human scale renders them ideal for presentations of engaging and awe-inspiring ruler portraits. In the tense political atmosphere of the Classic period, enduring images of powerful leaders ensured that the public recognized the authority of the ruler, the fortitude of his or her dynasty, and of the favor of deities.

The conquering ruler

Portrait of King Tahn Te’ K’inich in the garb of a warrior from Stela 6, Aguateca, Guatemala, ruled 770-802 C.E. (Museo Chileno del Arte Precolombino, Santiago, Chile)

As regional conflicts became more frequent in 8th century, military themes on portrait stelae increased.

Stela 6 from Aguateca, Guatemala (left) exemplifies the archetype of the conquering ruler, responsible for defeating enemies and procuring captives for ritual sacrifice. Although the hieroglyphs on this monument are eroded, the portrait appears to depict King Tahn Te’ K’inich (ruled 770-802 C.E.) as he brandishes a spear and shield and stands victoriously over two bound enemy captives.

Although Classic-period Maya stelae are no longer shrouded in mystery, numerous questions remain in regard to how they functioned. Perhaps most importantly, they provide only one side of the story, that of the ruler and of royal ideology. Stelae offer us little information regarding how they were received by the public, and we can only guess as to how effectively they impacted the common person. Although we know far more about ancient Maya stelae than Catherwood and Stephens ever imagined possible, the haze of mystery and intrigue through which they viewed these monuments has hardly evaporated.


Fig W0991: Stela H – Back Monument 8: Stela H

The back of Stela H is most unusual, as you can see in fig. W0991 . In the top right corner, it features the date glyph (signifying that a date is to follow) which is angled at 45° clockwise, so it reads from top right to bottom left. As Mayan glyphs are written in pairs, the immediate thought is that it would be reading from top left to bottom right. So it is doubly strange that it is not only diagonal, but grouped in fours. Suffice it to say, this is very uncommon – in fact only one other example has been found, in the little known site of Cancuén, 150 miles northwest of Quirigua.

The date reads 9.16.0.0.0, 2 Ahua 13 Tzec – 7 th May 751 AD , which makes it one of the earliest monuments that Cauac Sky erected.
Fig W0992: The Corn God On the side if Stela H is a wonderful depiction of Cauac Sky as the young God of Maize, emerging from the roots of “World Tree”. Corn was the main sustenance for the ancient Maya, and any ruler who could provide corn in abundance was considered to be an embodiment of the God of Maize and highly revered. Cauac Sky reigned for an astonishing 61 years which suggests he was able to keep the people of Quirigua very well fed and happy. The Corn God, and indeed the “World Tree”, are both tied in to the Creation Myth that was later referenced in Stela C and the trinity of stones which includes Stela A and Zoomorph B (click here for more info…). Stela H may therefore be an early indication of Cauac Sky’s ever growing belief that he was the “Great Ruler”.


The Why

The monumental inscriptions of Mesoamerica were not widely known in the United States until after Stephens and Catherwood published their findings in 1841.11 The excitement in and around Nauvoo over their findings in 1842 indicates that Joseph Smith and early Latter-day Saints were most likely unaware of things like stone inscriptions found in the Americas previously.

Even as awareness of Mesoamerican stelae grew, the inscriptions remained undecipherable, and as such the understanding of their contents was limited. Before the 1960s, most scholars believed that Mesoamerican monuments had no historical content whatsoever, but exclusively depicted and described gods and myths.12 Yet the Book of Mormon described a “large stone” engraved with the history of a king, his battles, his ancestors, and the origins of his ruling lineage.

Today, it is easy to take for granted the evidence for large stone monuments from Mesoamerica and assume it is of little or no significance for the Book of Mormon. Such an attitude, however, fails to appreciate how unknown the practice was in Joseph Smith’s own time and the fact that it took 130–160 years for linguists and epigraphers to catch up with Amaleki’s description in Omni 1:20–22.13

The more scholars learn about Mesoamerican stelae, the more comfortably Coriantumr’s stela fits the description. This is one instance where archaeology now strongly supports the Book of Mormon, whereas it did not seem to before. Realizing this underscores the importance of patience when it comes to comparing a text like the Book of Mormon to the archaeological record.14


Maya, King Tut’s treasurer

In Egypt itself, a campaign was launched to restore traditional temples and reorganize the country’s administration.

The treasury was headed by Tutankhamun’s treasurer, Maya.

Maya was also responsible for the gradual demolition of the temples and palaces of Akhenaten, first in Thebes and later also in Amarna.

In addition, as supervisor of the work in the great cemetery of the Valley of the Kings , Maya would be responsible for organizing the transfer of the mortal remains of Akhenaten and Tutankhamun to their respective graves.