Ancient Mayan Discovery at El Peru-Waka Adds New Dimension to History

El Peru-Waka

img by David Freidel, PhD, a professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis

Archaeologists digging out one of the most significant Mayan ruins have unearthed an absolute gem recently. Beneath the main temple of the believed ancient city of El Peru-Waka, the diggers seem to have discovered a carved stone monument fully covered in hieroglyphics. The patterns translate to depicting the life of a Mayan Princess, Lady Ikoom and open up a whole new chapter regarding the ancient Mayan civilization which wasn’t previously known. The monument which is offically known as Stela 44 seems to have brought up this dark and mysterious air around the Mayan culture, telling the tale of a bloody feud between two of the most well-known Mayan royal dynasties.

Many stone monuments have been unearthed that are similar to Stela 44, each of which seem to add another piece of the puzzle to the fascinating and unknown culture of the Mayans. Research Director at Washington University, David Friedel is at the forefront of the archeological digs and claims that his epigrapher believes that Stela 44 was created in 564 AD by the then King of the Wak dynasty, Wa’oom Uch’ab Tzi’kin.

Situated about 40 miles away from the most famous Mayan dig site of Tikal, El Peru-Waka was thought to have formed part of one of the most important trade routes in their civilization. Freidel has worked on the dig site for the last 10 years with the project being heavily sponsored by the Guatemalan and US governments. Throughout the project period, it has been discovered that Lady Ikoom, as previously mentioned, seemed to be incredibly important to the then King Chak Took Ich’aak, which translates as Red Spark Claw. She was thought to be one of the two Snake dynasty princesses and was to be married into the families of the rulers of El Peru-Waka in order to solidify the Snake hold on the northern region of Guatemala. The belief is that Stela 44 monument was brought to the main temple and buried as an offering for the then King’s wife, and remained in situ until being discovered by modern day archaeologists in 2012.

Stela 44 holds it’s uniqueness due to it being created during a period between 557 and 692 AD called The Hiatus, during which time no other Stelae were created at the ancient city of Tekal. It is believed to be the case that this was due to there wars an conquests that took place during this period, causing a hugely turbulent era in the Mayan calendar. Just previous to this time frame, there are two other Stelae that were thought to have been erected, namely Stela 23 and 22, which were dated 524 and 554 AD respectively, likely to have been raised by King Chak Took Ich’aak. Despite being heavily eroded, the text on Stela 44 indentifies that Chak Took’s son was witnessed by a royal woman, Lady Ikoom, likely to have been his mother and who held the titles of Sak Wayis (White Spirit) andK’uhul Chatan Winik (Holy Person.)

Stela 44 is just an example of the many findings that allow us to investigate into the fascinating world of the Mayans, arguably the most influential ancient culture that has ben discovered. Science, study and archaeology continues to develop and as such more findings like Stela 44 are more than likely to occur.


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