Posts Tagged With: jade

Maya ‘snake dynasty’ tomb uncovered holding body, treasure and hieroglyphs…


Xunantunich, in western Belize, where archaeologists found a tomb and hieroglyphic panels depicting the history of the ‘snake dynasty’.
Xunantunich, in western Belize, where archaeologists found a tomb and hieroglyphic panels depicting the history of the ‘snake dynasty’. Photograph: Jaime Awe

Archaeologists have uncovered what may be the largest royal tomb found in more than a century of work on Maya ruins in Belize, along with a puzzling set of hieroglyphic panels that provide clues to a “snake dynasty” that conquered many of its neighbors some 1,300 years ago.

The tomb was unearthed at the ruins of Xunantunich, a city on the Mopan river in western Belize that served as a ceremonial center in the final centuries of Maya dominance around 600 to 800 AD. Archaeologists found the chamber 16ft to 26ft below ground, where it had been hidden under more than a millennium of dirt and debris.

Researchers found the tomb as they excavated a central stairway of a large structure: within were the remains of a male adult, somewhere between 20 and 30 years old, lying supine with his head to the south.

The archaeologist Jaime Awe said preliminary analysis by osteologists found the man was athletic and “quite muscular” at his death, and that more analysis should provide clues about his identity, health and cause of death.

In the grave, archaeologists also found jaguar and deer bones, six jade beads, possibly from a necklace, 13 obsidian blades and 36 ceramic vessels. At the base of the stairway, they found two offering caches that had nine obsidian and 28 chert flints and eccentrics – chipped artefacts that resemble flints but are carved into the shapes of animals, leaves or other symbols.

The excavation site at Xunantunich.
The excavation site at Xunantunich. Photograph: Jaime Awe

“It certainly has been a great field season for us,” said Awe, who led a team from his own school, Northern Arizona University, and the Belize Institute ofArchaeology.

The tomb represents an extraordinary find, if only for its construction. At 4.5 meters by 2.4 meters, it is “one of the largest burial chambers ever discovered in Belize”, Awe said. It appears to differ dramatically from other grave sites of the era. Most Maya tombs were built “intrusively”, as additions to existing structures, but the new tomb was built simultaneously with the structure around it – a common practice among cultures such as the ancient Egyptians, but uncommon among the Mayas.

“In other words, it appears that the temple was purposely erected for the primary purpose of enclosing the tomb,” Awe said. “Except for a very few rare cases, this is not very typical in ancient Maya architecture.”

Many Maya societies ruled through dynastic families. Tombs for male and femalerulers have been found, including those of the so-called “snake dynasty”, named for the snake-head emblem associated with its house. The family had a string of conquests in the seventh century, and ruled from two capital cities. Awe said the newly discovered hieroglyphic panels could prove “even more important than the tomb”, by providing clues to the dynasty’s history.

The third hieroglyphic panel discovered at the Mayan ruins in Xunantunich, in western Belize, with Awe holding a flashlight.
The third hieroglyphic panel discovered at the Maya ruins in Xunantunich, with Jaime Awe holding a flashlight. Photograph: Christophe Helmke

The panels are believed to be part of a staircase originally built 26 miles to the south, at the ancient city of Caracol. Epigraphers say the city’s ruler, Lord Kan II of the snake dynasty, recorded his defeat of another city, Naranjo, on the hieroglyph, to go with his many other self-commemorations. On another work, he recorded a ball game involving a captured Naranjo leader whom he eventually sacrificed.

Naranjo apparently had its revenge some years later, in 680AD, having the panels dismantled and partially reassembled at home with gaps and incorrect syntax – possibly deliberately, to obscure the story of the snake dynasties’ conquests. Fragments have been discovered elsewhere in Caracol and at a fourth site along the Mopan river, but Awe said the new panels could be “bookends” to the story of war and sacrifice in the ancient Maya world.

According to the University of Copenhagen’s Christophe Helmke, the research team’s epigrapher, the panels provide a clue for Kan II’s conquests – he appears to have dedicated or commissioned the work in 642AD – and they note the death of Kan’s mother, Lady Batz’ Ek’. The panels also identify a previously unknown ruler from the Mexican site of Calakmul, Awe said.

Helmke said the panels “tell us of the existence of a king of the dynasty that was murky figure at best, who is clearly named as Waxaklajuun Ubaah Kan” . This ruler reigned sometime between 630 and 640AD, and may have been Kan’s half-brother.

“This means that there were two contenders to the throne, both carrying the same dynastic title, which appears to have been read Kanu’l Ajaw, ‘king of the place where snakes abound’,” he wrote in an email.

The panels clarify what Helmke called a “tumultuous phase of the snake-head dynasty” and explain how it splintered between cities before dominating Maya politics in the region.

The panels identify the origin of the snake dynasty at Dzibanche, in the Yucatan peninsula of modern Mexico, and refer to the family’s move to their capital of Calakmul. Awe said Lady Batz’ Ek’ “was likely a native of Yakha, a site in neighboring Guatemala, who later married the ruler of Caracol as part of a marriage alliance”.

The nine eccentrics.
The nine eccentrics. Photograph: Kelsey Sullivan, courtesy Jaime Awe

The researchers have had their work peer-reviewed for publication in the Journal of the Pre-columbian Art Research Institute.

Awe said it was not clear why the panels appeared in Xunantunich, but the city may have allied itself with or been a vassal state to Naranjo. The cities both fell into decline, along with other Maya societies, around 800 to 1,000AD, for reasons still mysterious but possibly including climate change, disease and war.

The city was called Xunantunich, meaning “stone woman” in the Yucatec Maya, long after its abandonment by original residents. The name derives from folklore around the city about a hunter who saw a ghostly, statuesque woman, dressed in indigenous garb, standing near an entrance to a temple called El Castillo – a storytouted by tourist sites today. The site was also once called Mount Maloney, after a British governor.

The temple is impressive in its own right, a stone structure that towers 130ft above the city’s main plaza, adorned with a stucco frieze that represents the gods of the sun and moon

Categories: Ancient Treasure, Archaeology, artifacts, emeralds, Emperor, gold, gold chains, gold coins, hidden, jewels, Legends, Lost Treasure, silver, Strange News, treasure, Treasure Hunting, Treasure Legends, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Locked tomb in eastern China may hold key to fate of little-known emperor 2,000 years ago…


Chinese archaeologists working on a royal cemetery dating to the Han dynasty 2,000 years ago say the site is the most complete and well-preserved set of tombs they have unearthed, state media reports.

But a key mystery remains: experts hope a locked coffin in the main mausoleum contains relics – an emperor’s seal perhaps – that could confirm the identity of the ancient occupants, according to Xinhua.

The site is large, stretching across 40,000 square metres in a rural area outside of Nanchang city in Jiangxi province. Archaeologists have uncovered eight main tombs and a chariot burial area with walls that run nearly 900 metres.

Bronze lamps shaped like ducks.

They believe it is the burial site of Liu He – the grandson of Emperor Wu, who was the most influential ruler of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-AD25) – and Liu’s wife along with a handful of family members.

Exact details about the era remain sketchy, but it’s thought Liu had a brief but dramatic stint in power – he assumed the throne but was ousted only to later return and be forced out again.

Bronze and ceramic wares.

Archaeologists have discovered terracotta figures, musical instruments, some 10 tonnes of bronze coins and more than 10,000 items made from gold, jade, iron, wood and bamboo.

A network of roads and a drainage system can also be seen.

Xin Lixiang, a researcher from the National Museum who is leading the dig, said his team would next turn to the mysterious coffin.

Archaeologists at the site hope a sealed tomb will contain relics such as an emperor’s seal that could positively identify the interned.

“There may be a royal seal and jade clothes that will suggest the status and identity of the tomb’s occupant,” Xin said.

The State Administration of Cultural Relics has instructed the site supervisors to apply for a world heritage listing with the United Nation’s cultural body, Unesco.

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Canadian Gold and Treasure caches


The leading gold producing province of Canada is Ontario and the Porcupine Region is the premier district in which to find gold. . In the area about 45 miles from Fort Frances on the new highway to Port Arthur (Thunder Bay) can be found good outcroppings of wire gold in quartz. Ore samples coming from this area have been assayed at 6 ounces of gold, 5 ounces of copper and 15 ounces of silver to the ton of ore.. The Isle of Fellow Sands in Lake Superior is said to contain a cache of treasure made by British soldiers around 1778 that has never been recovered.. According to some believers, the $12,000 in gold once aboard the French shallop Criffon in 1679, is buried somewhere along the rocky shoreline of Birch Island, 5 miles from Thessalon.. The Spanish conquistador Cortez supposedly buried a packtrain of treasure somewhere near Sarnia.. There is a cache of buried bullion and papers from an unknown party somewhere near Sarnia.. An iron chest full of gold coins was buried by David Ramsey in 1771 at the west end of Long Point Village just within the confines of Long Point Provincial Park. It has never been found.. In 1870, a Red River expedition payroll in an iron chest was lost overboard when canoes dashed against the rocks in the first rapids past Mattawa Station on the Mattawa River in Northern Ontario. In the early 1960s, five or more men from Montreal robbed a bank at Havelock, Ontario of $260,000. The bandits had a great deal of difficulty with their getaway car and took to the bush on foot in the Havelock area, carrying with them the money and their guns. However, when they were picked up coming out of the bush, they had neither. They were all sent to prison where one died and another killed a man while imprisoned there. It is believed the treasure cache has never been recovered and remains hidden somewhere in this area.. According to legend, an army paychest remains buried east of Toronto on the old site of Fort Rouille. During the War of 1812, the British sloop Mary Ann was transferring the military paychest from Kingston to York at the head of Lake Ontario where a post was maintained at Burlington Heights. It was pursued by American vessels, and being unable to fight them, put into the pond west of the present-day pumping station at Oshawa. Here, the Mary Ann was grounded and the crew carried the paychests ashore containing $100,000 and buried it. The Americans followed the vessel and burned it, but the paychests were never recovered.. At the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in Lake Ontario lies Hart Island. Built on this tiny strip of land is the fabulous Boldt’s Castle and hidden somewhere on the grounds or in the woods of this small estate is a cache of treasure attributed to Basil Hyde-Stafford, descendant of British aristocracy. It consists of a fortune in emerald gems and jewelry, miniature English antiques, goblets, dinnerware, rare coins, family heirlooms and rare jade carvings from India, all contained in a medium-sized trunk. The cache was made in the early 1900s and has never been found even though many diligent searches have been conducted. A cache of gold attributed to the gang of Jesse James is rumored to be buried in Milmur Township.

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Possible Tomb of Chinese Tyrant Uncovered……


Archaeologists have found a tomb in eastern China that may be the grave of the notorious Emperor Yang of Sui, according to news reports.
With inscriptions revealing the surprising identity of the deceased, the burial chamber measures about 215 square feet (20 square meters). It was uncovered in Yangzhou, a city about 175 miles (280 kilometers) southeast of Shanghai, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported.
Shu Jiaping, who leads Yangzhou’s institute of archaeology, told Xinhua that researchers are “still not sure whether it was the emperor’s final resting place, as historical records said his tomb had been relocated several times.”
Emperor Yang, also known as Yang Guang, is remembered as a fearsome and decadent tyrant. During his rule from 606 until his death at the hands of rebels in 618, he forced millions of laborers to take part in ambitious construction projects, such as building royal palaces, completing of the Grand Canal and reconstructing of the Great Wall. Emperor Yang also launched costly military campaigns, including a failed conquest of Goguryeo, an ancient kingdom of Korea, which eventually led to the collapse of the Sui Dynasty.
Grave robbers seem to have looted the tomb in the 1,500 years since the emperor’s death, according to China Daily. However, archaeologists reportedly found some items considered telltale signs of royalty inside the tomb, including a jade belt with gold details. The tomb was exposed at a construction site last year, and it is connected to another chamber that may belong to the emperor’s wife, Xinhua reported.
Emperor Yang’s final resting place pales in comparison to those of other Chinese rulers. An army of life-size clay warriors famously guards the city-sized tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who died in 210 B.C. The main burial chamber of Qin Shi Huang has yet to be excavated, but according to legend, it has rivers of mercury and a ceiling encrusted with gems. Archaeologists recently found the emperor’s palace complex at the site near the city of Xi’an.

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Guatemala excavates early Mayan ruler’s tomb……



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Archaeologists announced Thursday they have uncovered the tomb of a very early Mayan ruler, complete with rich jade jewelry and decoration.
Experts said the find at Guatemala’s Tak’alik Ab’aj temple site could help shed light on the formative years of the Mayan culture.
Government archaeologist Miguel Orrego said carbon-dating indicates the tomb was built between 700 and 400 B.C., several hundred years before the Mayan culture reached its height. He said it was the oldest tomb found so far at Tak’alik Ab’aj, a site in southern Guatemala that dates back about 2,200 years.
Orrego said a necklace depicting a vulture-headed human figure appeared to identify the tomb’s occupant as an “ajaw,” or ruler.
“This symbol gives this burial greater importance,” Orrego said. “This glyph says he … is one of the earliest rulers of Tak’alik Ab’aj.”
No bones were found during the excavation of the tomb in September, probably because they had decayed.
Experts said the rich array of jade articles in the tomb could provide clues about production and trade patterns.
Susan Gillespie, an archaeologist at the University of Florida who was not involved in the excavation, said older tombs have been found from ruling circles at the Mayan site of Copan in Honduras as well as in southern Mexico, where the Olmec culture, a predecessor to the Mayas, flourished.
Olmec influences are present in the area around Tak’alik Ab’aj, indicating possible links.
Gillespie said that because it is near a jadeite production center, the find could shed light on early techniques and trade in the stone, which was considered by the Maya to have sacred properties.

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TOMB OF MAYAN QUEEN FOUND……


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Archaeologists in Guatemala say they have discovered the 7th-century tomb of Lady K’abel, one of the greatest queens of classic Maya civilization.

Unearthed during excavations of the royal Maya city of El Perú-Waka’ in northwestern Petén, Guatemala, the grave contained the skeletal remains of a mature individual buried with rich offerings such as dozens of ceramic vessels, numerous carved jade, shell artifacts and a small, carved alabaster jar.

According to the archaeologists, the white vessel strongly suggest the tomb belonged to the warrior Queen Lady K’abel.

Carved as a conch shell, with a head and arm of an aged woman emerging from the opening, the alabaster jar portrayed a woman, mature with a lined face and a strand of hair in front of her ear, while on the other side it featured a brief glyphic text consisting of four hieroglyphs.
The final two glyphs named the owner as “Lady Waterlily-Hand, Princess of Calakmul.”

“This is almost certainly an alternative spelling of the name of Lady K’abel, as both names consist of hands holding waterlilies and both are titled as princesses of Calakmul,” David Freidel, professor of archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis and co-director of the expedition, said.

The most powerful person in Waka’ during her lifetime, Lady K’abel is known in Maya archaeology because of a beautiful and detailed portrait of her in a stela dated to 692 A.D. The carved stone slab was looted from Waka’ in the 1960s and is now in the Cleveland Art Museum.
Lady K’abel ruled with her husband, K’inich Bahlam, for at least 20 years (672-692 A.D.). She was the military governor of the Wak kingdom for her family, the imperial house of the Snake King, and carried the title Kaloomte’, which translates to “Supreme Warrior.”

“The significance of this woman’s powerful role as a ‘Kaloomte,’ a title rarely associated with Maya women, provides tremendous insight on the nexus of gender and power in Classic Maya politics,” Olivia Navarro-Farr, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at The College of Wooster and co-director of the expedition, said.

The discovery of the tomb of the seventh-century Maya queen occurred while Navarro-Farr investigated “ritually potent” features at El Perú-Waka’, such as shrines, altars, and dedicatory offerings.
The tomb was found underneath various phases of a masonry shrine that had been placed on a staircase.

The shrine contained a monumental fire altar which had been dedicated by the sacrifice of a mature woman buried underneath it.

“Below that last shrine was a buried earlier version and it was below this earlier shrine that the royal tomb was found,” Freidel and Navarro-Farr said.

It soon became clear to the archaeologists why the structure received so much ritual attention throughout its final occupation.
“The golden age of the city, and the great queen and her husband who presided over it, were remembered and celebrated by ordinary people with their humble offerings,” the researchers said.

Inside the tomb the team led by Freidel and Navarro-Farr found the skeletal remains of an individual, whose skull was almost covered by ceramic vessels.

Deterioration of the bones did not permit a clear identification of the subject as male or female.

“If female, the interred individual had more robust than gracile features,” the researchers said. The traits would match the queen’s portrait on the stela on display at the Cleveland Art Museum.
One further clue favoring the identification of the skeleton as a queen was the presence of a large red spiny oyster shell on the lower torso.

“Late Classic queens at Waka’, including K’abel, regularly wore such a shell as a girdle ornament in their stela portraits while kings did not,” the researchers said.

According to Freidel, the newly uncovered tomb is a rare situation in which Maya archaeological and historical records meet.

“To put the discovery into perspective, there are five maya tombs in Classic Maya history that are indentifiable as to the person inside them — this is one of those five,” Freidel said.

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Maya Prince’s Tomb Found With Rare Drinking Vessel…..


 

Excavating a remote Maya palace in the ruined city of Uxul, archaeologists in Mexico have uncovered the ancient tomb of a young prince—and a rare artifact.

The floor of an entrance building within Uxul’s 11-building royal complex concealed the entrance to the small chamber, which held the remains of the 20- to 25-year-old man and nine ceramic objects.

On one cup, “there was a simple message … in elegantly modeled hieroglyphics that read: ‘[This is] the cup of the young man/prince,'” team member Nikolai Grube, an anthropologist at Germany’s University of Bonn, said in a late-July statement.

Another cup bears a date, which Grube and colleague Kai Delvendahl interpret to mean the year A.D. 711, giving some indication as to when the prince lived and died.

It’s common for Maya artifacts to refer to their owners, Grube said. But all previous princely drinking vessels have been excavated “illegally, without controlled excavation, by looters. This is the first time we have found such a vessel in an archaeological context.”

The Maya civilization sprawled across much of modern-day Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Around A.D. 900 the so-called Classic era of the Maya Empire came to a close after a series of droughts and perhaps political strife.
Despite its obvious archaeological attractions, the small tomb at Uxul (ooh-SHOOL) is noticeably lacking in jade jewelry—suggesting the prince was not in line for the throne, experts say.

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