Skip to Search Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content
Sombrilla Mast


The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

A King's Treasure

Research: Anthropologists discover special link to the past

Buried with a Maya king some 17 centuries ago in the Mopan River valley of Belize and discovered by a UTSA research team last summer, a marine-shell pendant has helped solve an important mystery — the ancient name of an archaeological site.

"The hieroglyphic text carved on this shell pendant has a glyph that names the site of Buenavista and the date that the king ascended to the throne," says UTSA anthropology professor Kathryn Brown. Also carved on the shell, Brown says, is an elaborate portrait of an ancient Maya ancestor.

Text on the pendant denoting the title of the individual also could mean that the research team unearthed remains that are of one of the earliest kings in the Belize River Valley.

While there could be many more discoveries ahead as researchers continue to sort through the artifacts found in the tomb, Brown says the pendant alone provides an important piece of the political history puzzle in the region.

Brown and Jason Yaeger, the Department of Anthropology chair, have been conducting research in Belize for more than two decades. The pendant is just one of many items discovered in two royal tombs excavated by the UTSA team working under a permit issued by the Belize Institute of Archaeology.


Please keep all comments constructive and relevant to the articles you're commenting on. Sombrilla reserves the right to delete or edit messages.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Current Issue: Summer 2015 | Table of Contents