Mexican researchers have found in the archaeological zone of Toniná, State of Chiapas, two stone sculptures representing captive warriors belonging to the allied Maya states of Palenque, Mexico and Copán, Honduras.
Researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) of Mexico reported that the finding took place in May 2011 at the Toniná archaeological site, located in the municipality of Ocosingo, Chiapas. The two stone sculptures have been dated to approximately 1300 years ago and the inscriptions found on them confirm previous knowledge of a war alliance that existed between the rulers of Copán in Honduras, and Palenque, not far from Toniná in the State of Chiapas, in the Southeast of Mexico bordering Guatemala.
In addition to the human figures, each measuring about 1,50 metre high, two stone platforms were also discovered which are deemed to be markers of a field pertaining to the ball games traditionally played by Maya warriors."Everything was broken, the two platforms in 30 fragments, and the sculptures in more than 20 pieces. One of the statues is complete, but the other one is headless," explains Juan Yadeun, head of the INAH Toniná archaeology research team in a report at the INAH website (in Spanish).
According to the archaeologist, the two figures are prisoner warriors possibly representing the victory of Toniná against the allied forces of Palenque and Copán. The Mayan tribes battled during 26 years (688 -714 AD) for supremacy in the control of the waters or the Usumacinta River of Ocosingo, Chiapas.
Both prisoners are seated with their legs crossed and their hands tied behind the back. The hair of the captive with head is shown collected towards the back. Collecting the hair was a customary ritual among the Maya before beheading a prisoner. The sculptures show hieroglyph inscriptions on the chest and the loin-cloth telling that the captive warriors belonged to the army of K’uy Nic Ajaw, the warlord of Copán who ruled the region between 680 and 800 AD.
Based on the appearance of the statues and the text shown in the inscriptions on the figures and on the platforms, the researcher believes that the captives were sacrificed with fire and smoke during a celebration at the pitch of a ball game about the year 695.
INAH - Gov't of Mexico
Statues of captive Maya warriors found at the Ruins of Toniná, Chiapas, Mexico.
The Usumacinta River, at the border between Chiapas, Mexico (near side) and Guatemala (far side). Mayan groups disputed the control of the waters of this river in wars lasting more than two decades.