(ORDO NEWS) — In Mexico, during excavations on the Yucatan Peninsula, archaeologists have discovered a giant image of an unknown Mayan deity.
According to Live Science, archaeologists have only recently revealed the discovery, although the artifact itself was discovered back in 2017. A giant mask the size of a man was found at the archaeological site of Ucanya, near the modern city of Motul.
Since then, researchers at the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico (INAH) have painstakingly worked to restore it. The discovery was not reported for the safety of the artifact itself. There was a risk that it could be reached and destroyed by “treasure hunters”.
In fact, all this time, scientists were hiding the historical value from looters. Moreover, in 2017, archaeologists deliberately buried this mask again so that no one would find it. And they themselves returned to the site only after they found the necessary equipment and funding. The restoration work has been completed recently.
In the process of restoration and conservation, archaeologists strengthened the fragile parts of the mask, returned to their original position those parts that had been displaced over time. In addition, the surface of the artifact was thoroughly cleaned, which made it possible to reveal all the patterns and even the preserved colors.
The artifact itself puzzled the researchers. It is dated to the late pre-classical Maya period (about 300 BC – 250 AD). The mask is an image of the face of an unknown deity or some very important person, a representative of the elite of society of that period of time.
“Masks like this represent the faces of people with special traits that can be associated with deities or persons of distinguished social status,” the INAH said in a statement.
Scientists clarify that such Maya bas-reliefs were usually placed around the stairs of pyramidal structures. Archaeologists have previously found similar artifacts in Akancha and Isamal, but this is the first such case in Ukanye. By the way, in this ancient city there are burial mounds, for the study of which a special project was created. It is possible that some of these structures have a pyramidal shape.
Interestingly, after the restoration, archaeologists again “buried” the mask. INAH explained this by the fact that this monument and archaeological site do not yet have legal protection. Therefore, the mask was re-hidden from the marauders in order to ensure the long-term storage of the unique artifact in the place where it was found.
Contact us: [email protected]