The Discovery in Chichén Itzá of 14 Stone Shields Reveals Mayan Secrets and Hidden Jewels in Chichén Itzá.
The last building erected by the Mayans at Chichen Itza has been the center of an astonishing discovery. Experts have unearthed 14 shields carved in stone, a revelation that has surprised archaeologists.
The House of Shields and its Hidden History
Recent research at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, has uncovered fascinating details about the House of Shields, one of the final structures at the site. Archaeologist Max Edwin Ayala reported that this building was not only a security bastion near the Palace of the Phalos, but also housed a series of meticulously carved stone shields.
The enclosure, known for its patio adorned with stone bucklers, measured 37 square meters and was richly decorated with these elements. According to José Arturo Cortés, another archaeologist, the presence of these shields on the building indicates that it was a place where military and conquest strategies were discussed.
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Unique Characteristics of the Shields
The shields, with their circular design and hanging feathers, featured three crossed arrows, showing both the points and the darts. Next to each shield were pouches possibly containing additional arrows or ritual items. The center of the shield was marked with a globular emblem from which scrolls emanated.
The epigrapher Santiago Sobrino Fernández compared these elements with Mayan terms and noted similarities with other representations in Chichén Itzá, suggesting a symbolism related to courage and warrior character.
The restorer Alejandra Mei Chong Bastidas observed traces of paint on one of the stones, which revealed the original color palette of the set. In addition, in other areas murals and vaults with polychrome were found.
Opening of the Initial Series Group
This archaeological group was opened to the public in September 2023 as part of the Archaeological Zones Improvement Program (Promeza). Archaeologists Ayala and Cortés lead the excavations at the House of Shields.
The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) has also undertaken work on Structure 5C36, with a focus on the interiors spanning more than 213 square meters.
Architectural Features of the House of Shields
With dimensions of 14 meters wide by 18 meters long, this structure was probably the last addition to the Palace of the Phalos complex between the years 950-1150 AD. Arturo Cortés noted that a detailed exploration allowed us to better understand its architecture and function, identifying key elements such as walls, foundations and columns.
The presence of reliefs with war coats of arms on the stone blocks was decisive in understanding their function. The incomplete friezes on the west façade, and seven complete ones on the south façade, each composed of between six and eight panels, clearly indicate its role in the Mayan war context.
Discovery in Chichen Itza of 14 Stone Shields
This discovery at Chichén Itzá not only adds a new chapter to the history of this ancient Mayan settlement, but also illuminates unknown aspects about its culture and military practices.
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