Researchers and archaeologists have found a stone tablet in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, inscribed with drawings of figures playing what looks like current football.


EDITED BY | CHRISTIAN MEGAN

HISTORY SECTION CJ NEWS

14 APRIL 2023


 

     The disc, which dates back to the Mayan era in the ninth century, is about 32 centimeters in diameter and weighs about 40 kilograms. It is characterized by intricate graphic inscriptions, in addition to two people standing next to what looks like a ball.

According to scholars and experts, the disk was made by the Mayans to commemorate the "pelota" match, and the ceremonial game included a ball containing the ashes of the dead rulers. Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, according to the British Daily Mail.
The player on the right also appears to be wearing the traditional pelota player's protective clothing, as well as a special headdress covered in snakes, known as the "snake turban", whose image has been seen frequently in artifacts at Chichen Itza, a large pre-Columbian city built by The Maya people, where the serpent was a sacred animal in their culture, believed to have connections to the underworld and a fertility deity.

The other player wears a feathered headdress and a scarf with a flower on it, which is believed to be a water lily.

The artifact, called the "Peluta Players Disc", is inscribed with a reference to a Mayan calendar date equivalent to 894 AD.

It is noteworthy that pelota, which means "ball", was a traditional practice of the peoples of Central America, and was played with two teams of up to 6 players on an I-shaped field in English.

The game, which originated more than 3,000 years ago, was played with a hard rubber ball that could weigh up to 4 kilograms, and players used their hips, thighs, and sometimes wooden sticks to pass the ball to their teammates and score points.

A team will lose points if the ball touches the ground, and a single match can last up to two weeks.

"It's rare to find symbolic pictographs at this site, and it's rare to find a complete text," said Francisco Pérez Ruiz of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.

Experts analyze the inscription to decipher its exact meaning, while the weight of the stone suggests that it may have been designed to be displayed rather than carried by spectators, to commemorate an important match.


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