Has Mexico solved the mystery of the Mayan Acropolis of Ek' Balam?

A painting on a stone cover found at the Ek' Balam archaeological site in Mexico may give insight into the ancient Mayans.

 A structure at Ek' Balam. (photo credit: WALLPAPER FLARE)
A structure at Ek' Balam.
(photo credit: WALLPAPER FLARE)

A mural painting on a stone block used by the ancient Mayans as a vault cover has been discovered in one of the structures of the Ek' Balam Acropolis, according to Mexico’s Culture Ministry and National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Seven other similarly painted vault covers have been recovered in the past year in the archaeological zone of Yucatán, Mexico. 

The discovery was announced at a press conference last week of the Presidency of Mexico, headed by the Interior Secretary Luisa María Alcalde Luján. 

Unlike the previous discoveries, the recently uncovered vault lid does not have traces of black paint but was painted red. The lid shows a “U”-shaped symbol, which could represent a cave with underground water, as a possible allusion to the underworld, where a snake seems to enter. The head and part of the body of a reptile are visible, which could be associated with the serpentine god K'awiil.

According to the general director of INAH, Diego Prieto Hernández, archaeological finds at the site have provided important information, such as names of some of the rulers of the kingdom of Talol (Ek' Balam), as well as the dates on which the rooms of the royal palace or Acropolis were built.

Northward view of Ek-Balam. (credit: FLICKR)
Northward view of Ek-Balam. (credit: FLICKR)

Importance of Ek' Balam

According to the directors of the Ek' Balam Archaeological Project, Leticia Vargas de la Peña and Víctor Castillo Borges, this discovery can provide information about the builders of the east elevated plaza of the Acropolis, as well as the date they were built. 

Hernandez further highlighted that the implementation of the Improvement Program in Archaeological Zones in 27 sites in the southeast and the Yucatan Peninsula has given rise to important discoveries.