Saturday, January 16, 2016

Museo de Arqueología, Lago de Petén Itzá

Near the banks of Lago de Petén Itzá in Guatemala there can be found an impressive collection of Mayan artifacts from the surrounding areas.  Beyond the coast lies seemingly endless jungle on the way to Tik'al, the 'place of voices'.

Human skull with jade implanted in the teeth.  Today many Mayan people implant gold.

Personal belongings.


Used for grinding corn.

To the Mayans, stones and pieces of jade were personal possessions and marked their status.  They had great value but were never used for trade whereas there is evidence of cacao being used as a currency.

Miguel, the collector of these items, has gathered the history of the artifacts by various archaeologists who have passed through.  He has met people who can decipher the Mayan codecs.  The Mayans never used paper but rather large shavings of bark to keep records.

In the area surrounding Tikal one can find small seashells and fossils from passed ages when the sea level was higher.  Mayans were adorned with seashells even if they lived far away from the sea.

Jade was worn on the nose and covered eyes to resemble an owl.  'Bishops' were often adorned to look like owls.

Everybody kept their personal dishes and bowls.  When a person dies his or her bowl is pierced with a hole preventing it from being used again.

A replica of a much smaller piece found on the island, the original was made of human bone and the captive human displayed is being lead to sacrifice.

Examples of Anthropomorphism: animals with human characteristics.

Seven-Macaw from Popol Vuh.

Knives and spearheads.

A dish used for mixing makeup.

With Miguel, the collector.

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