In the historic Mayan city of Palenque in Mexico, archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have uncovered a nose ornament made of human bone.
According to a statement from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the find was made during excavations at House C, a building that was part of a complex of palaces constructed by Pakal the Great.
A scene depicting contact with the gods and ancestors is carved on the nose ornament, which was created from a portion of a human distal tibia.
An attire made of human bone worn by rulers and priests of this ancient city, during ceremonies in which they embodied K’awiil, the Mayan god of maize and fertility, was discovered for the first time in the history of explorations in the Archaeological Zone of Palenque, in Chiapas. This attire featured an elegantly carved scene on the nose ornament.
The Maya frequently portrayed Kawiil as having the promise of “Innumerable Generations” and as a part of the ritual Maya throne ascension and inauguration.
The ceremonial deposit that included the nose jewelry that archaeologists discovered dates to the Late Classic period of Mesoamerican history (between 600 and 850 A.D.).
The antique artifact was unearthed in a pit filled with clay soil and charcoal remnants that the researchers found beneath a stucco floor. While sorting the filling’s contents, the crew also found animal carcasses, obsidian blades, fragments of a bone awl, and a human bone nose ring.
For the first time, in Palenque they find a nose ring: it must have been used to personify the Mayan god of corn. İmage credit: Carlos Varela Scherrer
INAH released the following statement in a news release: “The earth matrix was very dark with a high amount of charcoal and intermingled with seeds, fish bones, turtles, small mammals, obsidian blades, some large pieces of charcoal and, among them, a bone nasal ornament.”
Due to its composition and the hardness, accuracy, and combination of the carving lines, which were produced in just 6.4 centimeters by 5.2 centimeters with a thickness of 5 centimeters at the bottom and decreasing to 3 centimeters at the top, the artifact has noteworthy artistic significance.
The nose ring, which has an intricately carved scene, is fashioned from a portion of a human distal tibia, which makes up the skeletal framework of the ankle joint. The profile of a guy wearing headgear with a bird head shape may be observed in one area of the artifact. A picture of a human skull missing a lower jaw can be seen in another section. The Mayan symbol for “darkness” or “night,” ak’ab, can be seen on the left arm.
According to Arnoldo González Cruz, the director of the Palenque Archaeological Project (PAP), “one of the characteristic features of the divinity is the shape of the extremely elongated head and profile that ended in a point. Therefore, researchers believe the nasal ornament was worn by rulers and priests of the ancient city during ceremonies in which they embodied K’awiil, the Maya god of corn and fertility.”