A big round altar stands in the midst of the Patio of the Ambassadors.  The pit within the altar’s middle was most likely used for ceremonial fires. Within the background are two palaces (Constructions 433 and 434) that stand at proper angles to one another, forming the southwest nook of the Patio. The Patio of the Ambassadors was initially referred to as the Annex of the Knives as a result of it stands instantly to the west of the Platform of the Knives (see Half 7).

The title change took place by a exceptional humanitarian mission. Within the Nineteen Eighties, Mexico agreed to supply work to Maya refugees from the Guatemalan civil warfare by permitting them to assist with excavation on the Annex of the Knives. A number of European ambassadors organized financing for this mission and the brand new title was adopted to honor them for his or her help.

On this posting, I will stroll you thru the Patio and the assorted constructions that kind its perimeter. Details about them comes from Edzná, A Pre-hispanic Metropolis in Campeche, by the Mexican archeologist Antonio Benavides Castillo.  As well as, I will proceed my dialogue of Edzná’s historical past and rulers. The little we all know comes from glyphs and pictures analyzed by Carlos Pallán Gayol in an article entitled: A Glimpse From Edzná’s Hieroglyphics, which provides us a peek into the Late Traditional period of the town’s historical past. After I present data that isn’t contained inside these two works, I’ll embody hyperlinks to my different sources.

OverviewWebsite plan of the Patio of the Ambassadors / Annex of the Knives. North is towards the highest of the schematic above. The Patio advanced is positioned within the northwest nook of the Most important Plaza, simply west of the Platform of the Knives (Construction 431). There are three units of altars within the Patio. The principle altar is round, with two different round altars hooked up, descending in measurement towards the north. To its east is a big, rectangular, single-level altar. The Zoomorphic Altar stands within the northeast nook of the Patio.

The constructions surrounding the Patio embody 431 on the east, 435 on the north, and 434 on the west. Constructions 433 and 432 kind the Patio’s southern boundary. Low staircases enable entry to every of those. Archeologists gave the Patio its unique title “Annex of the Knives” as a result of it gave the impression to be an extension of the Platform of the Knives. This opinion is supported by the broad staircase main up from the Patio to the Platform of the Knives. (Schematic is from Edzná, A Pre-hispanic Metropolis in Campeche)

View from the middle of the Patio towards the west finish of the Platform of Knives. The oblong altar is seen beneath the tree on the left. The west finish of the Platform is accessed by a broad, five-step staircase. On the prime of the staircase, you possibly can see the three west-facing rooms that kind the west finish of the Platform. The housing advanced on the Platform of the Knives was coated in Half 7 of this sequence. The Patio’s giant enclosed area supplied an space for semi-private non secular ceremonies, most likely reserved for elite households. As well as, it might have been perfect for socializing. 

What we find out about Edzná’s historical past and rulers comes primarily from stone carvings. A few of these had been discovered on the risers of temple staircases and include glyphs with phrases and dates. Photos of rulers, together with extra glyphs, had been found on stelae (upright, stand-alone stone blocks). Many of the stelae had been discovered on the Temple of the Stelae (Construction 419-2), whereas many of the glyphs come from the staircases of the Temple of the Inscriptions (Construction 419-3) and the Pyramid of the 5 Ranges. The stelae and many of the staircase inscriptions had been created elsewhere in Edzná for different temples. Centuries later, they had been recycled and positioned within the positions the place they had been finally excavated. 

Making an attempt to piece collectively Edzná’s historical past from these artifacts is a bit like assembling an enormous and complicated jigsaw puzzle. Think about that many of the items are lacking and that a lot of what you’ve got are solely fragments of items. Additional, the image that emerges by this course of usually has a number of ranges of which means and, in some circumstances, a number of various meanings. It’s actually exceptional that archeologists like Carlos Pallán Gayol and others have managed to take action a lot with so little.

The Patio and its three altars

View of the Patio and the oblong altar. I took this shot from the western staircase of the Platform of the Knives (Construction 431). The Patio is formed like an irregular polygon and measures 40m (131ft) east-to-west by 30m (98ft) north-to-south. Above, within the center floor, is the oblong altar. The low platform within the background known as Construction 435, one in every of a number of across the Patio that haven’t but been totally excavated. Its platform was most likely the bottom for a dwelling which disappeared centuries in the past and was constructed both of masonry or perishable supplies. 

A complete of 32 stelae, 2 lintels, a panel, and two units of hieroglyphic stairways have been excavated at Edzná. Three of the stelae had been produced within the eighth Baktun of the Maya calendar. This unit of time covers 45 AD-435 AD (Late Pre-Traditional into Early Traditional). This was the interval when the Temple of the Masks, the South Temple, and Nohoch Ná had been constructed. 
Nonetheless, many of the stelae and hieroglyphs come from the Late Traditional interval (600-900 AD). Eleven of those include dates from the Maya Lengthy Rely Calendar that archeologists had been capable of calibrate to the fashionable calendar system. These vary from 652 AD to 810 AD. Different dates cited under that fall earlier than or after this vary are approximate and had been inferred by Gayol from a wide range of knowledge sources.

All this has produced essential data, together with ruler names, titles, and dates of accession, in addition to vital occasions akin to battle victories and the overthrow of dynasties by overseas invaders. Carlos Pallás Gayol assembled all this into an inventory of 10 successive Late Traditional rulers. Piecing collectively such a jigsaw puzzle will not be a precise science and Gayol’s work rigorously separates info from assumptions.

The Zoomorphic Altar is sq. with two ranges. Resting on prime is a serpent’s head carved from stone. This altar is positioned within the slender alley between the japanese fringe of Construction 435 and the northwest nook of Construction 431. It’s probably that the altar had a relationship to 1 or each of those constructions. An altar with the same serpent’s head stands on the base of the principle staircase of the South Temple. The time period “zoomorphic” refers back to the depiction of a god within the type of an animal, on this case a serpent.

Serpents had been essential to the traditional Maya. They had been believed to help the actions of the solar, moon, and different celestial our bodies. As well as, the common shedding of the serpent’s pores and skin symbolized the essential ideas of rebirth and renewal. Archeologists consider that each the serpent sculptures on the Zoomorphic Altar and the one on the South Temple had been initially created within the Early Traditional interval for different temples or altars, however later had been moved to their current areas. This most likely occurred throughout the Publish Traditional period (1000-1500 AD). 
A line of three round altars stands within the middle of the Patio. The view right here is towards the south. Within the background, the north finish of Nohoch Ná and the Round Temple could be seen. The alignment of the altars types a form considerably like an old school keyhole. Whereas I’ve seen many round altars all through Mesoamerica, I’ve by no means earlier than encountered an association like this. I’ve been unable to search out any rationalization for this thriller.
Unen Ok’awiil is the primary of the ten Late Traditional rulers recognized in Carlos Pallás Gayon’s sequence. He seems on Stela 23, which was discovered on the base of the Small Acropolis. Its date of 633 AD is barely approximate as a result of the stela could be very weathered. Nonetheless, if the date is comparatively correct, Ruler #1 reigned throughout the meteoric rise of the Kaan (Snake) Dynasty, who dominated the city-state of Dzibanche. It was throughout this era that Edzná fell beneath Kaan affect. 
Two years later, in 635 AD, Dzibanche’s ruler Yuknoom Cheen II seized energy at Calakmul, an essential metropolis 225km (140mi) south of Edzna within the Petén lowlands. Following his coup d’etat, he made Calakmul the capital of the Kaan Dynasty and launched the closest factor to an empire that the Traditional Maya ever had. For a short while, Yuknoom Cheen II dominated Edzná collectively with Calakmul. Nonetheless, for many of the interval of the Kaan hegemony, Edzná was a subordinate energy with a level of autonomy. Hieroglyphic Staircase 1, on the 5 Degree Pyramid, incorporates a glyph that refers to a Kaan Ajaw (Lord). This must be Yuknoom Cheen II, the katoomte (“overlord”) of Edzná’s ruler on the time the staircase was constructed.

A reference to Edzná’s Ruler #2, Sih Chan Ok’awiil, additionally seems on Hieroglyphic Stairway 1 in addition to on Stela 18. Two dates are related to him: 649 AD and 672 AD. The primary is an approximate date, which occurred throughout his rule. The second date, whereas particular, was not carved till after his demise. The date 649 AD locations Sih Chan Ok’awiil squarely inside the lengthy reign of Yuknoom Cheen II, who died someday within the 680’s. Throughout this era, Edzná loved a excessive stage of prosperity and stability, whereas functioning because the northern regional capital of Calakmul’s empire.  

Construction 432: The buried tunnel

Construction 432, which I nicknamed the “Buried Tunnel Constructing”. It sits within the southeast nook of the Patio, separated by a slender alley from the southwest nook of the Platform of the Knives. The dealing with stones alongside the edges of Construction 432 are well-cut Puuc-style blocks. The inside of the partitions are stuffed with rubble. Within the foreground is a part of the stone border of the sacbe  (processional approach) that runs throughout the Most important Plaza from the Nice Acropolis after which passes between the Patio of the Ambassadors and Nohoch Ná

Ruler #2 was recognized by hieroglyphic references to Girl Jut Chanek, who traveled to Edzná in 649 AD with a purpose to marry him. The title Chanek means “Serpent-Star” and was an elite household from the Petén space, south of Calakmul. Girl Jut was the mom of Janaab Yook Ok’inich, Edzná’s Ruler #5. 

To succeed in Edzná, Girl Jut needed to journey all the best way from the Petexbatun area, 330km (205mi) south of Edzná. This represented fairly a exceptional journey, since all overland journey needed to be by foot. Royal marriages had been used to cement political, navy, or financial alliances. Given the space concerned, any political or navy advantages appear doubtful. A commerce deal appears extra probably, since each Edzná and Petexbatun had assets the opposite may discover engaging.

The buried tunnel, considered from contained in the Patio of the Ambassadors. Essentially the most putting characteristic of Construction 432 is the mouth of what seems to be a tunnel. It runs right through the constructing, connecting the Patio of the Ambassadors with the Most important Plaza. Nonetheless, this isn’t a tunnel in any respect. When archeologists excavated right here, they found that it’s truly the stays of a room that was coated over when a later construction was constructed over it. The tunnel/room’s ceiling was shaped with the basic Maya corbel arch. The dealing with stones and the rubble fill behind them can clearly be seen above.

Ruler #3, referred to as Cal Chan Chaahk (“Rain God who opens the sky”), was Ruler #2’s successor. Nonetheless, it isn’t clear that he was Girl Jut’s son. Sih Chan Ok’awiil might had a couple of spouse or maybe Cal Chan Chaahk was a brother or different relative who adopted him to the throne. He seems on Stela 22, together with the date 652 AD, which is the earliest full Lengthy Rely date at Edzná. The date additionally seems on Hieroglyphic Stairway 1, on the 5 Degree Pyramid. Cal Chan Chaahk constructed that nice pyramid, in addition to the Platform of the Knives and the Ball Courtroom.

Cal Chan Chaahk’s picture additionally seems on Stela 21, surrounded by glyphs which embody the date 662 AD. This aid carving reveals him sporting an elaborate feathered head costume and a belt embellished with the heads of jaguars. In his proper hand he holds a logo of royal authority referred to as a manikin scepter. In his left, he clutches an object referred to as a trilobate flint, which is a weapon of warfare. Thus, he introduced himself because the mannequin of a well-dressed warrior-king. That is the most effective preserved picture of any Edzna ruler.  

Construction 434: The southwest palace

Construction 434 has a number of fascinating options. Certainly one of these is a room with 4 columns. For lack of a greater title, I name the columned room the West Palace. It faces into the Patio on the southern finish of Construction 434. Throughout its entrance is a three-step staircase. The steps lead as much as 4 Puuc-style columns alongside the doorway of a single rectangular room. This construction, and many of the others discovered across the Patio, was constructed within the Publish-Traditional interval between 1000-1200 AD. The Puuc options might have been recycled from different, older components of Edzná. Whether or not Construction 434 was a temple, a dwelling, or served another perform will not be clear.

Ruler #4 was a girl named Ixb’aah Pahk’. She might have been Cal Chan Chaahk’s queen, who adopted him to the throne after his demise. It was commonplace for Calakmul and its subordinate city-states to have feminine rulers. Ruler #4 seems on Stela 20 in addition to Hieroglyphic Staircase 1. Within the picture carved on the  stela, Ixb’aah Pahk’ sits cross-legged on a throne that’s embellished with three human heads. She wears a tall feathered head costume and an elaborate scarf of jade beads over a flowing robe. Dates related together with her embody an approximate date of 649 AD and a particular Lengthy Rely date of 657 AD.
Ruler #5 was Janaab Yook Ok’inich, the son of Girl Jut Chanek and Sih Chan Ok’awiil (Ruler #2). Janaab Yook Ok’inich seems on Stelae 18 and 19 with the dates of 672 and 692 AD. On each stelae, he’s richly dressed and carries the scepter and the trilobate flint of a warrior-king. Nonetheless, on Stela 19, he additionally stands on the prostrate physique of a captive. Glyphs on the stela hyperlink the captive with the town of Cobá and supply a date of 692 AD. Apparently this monument was erected to have a good time a victory over an essential rival. Cobá is positioned close to the Caribbean aspect of the Yucatan Peninsula.

This small room stands instantly to the precise of the West Palace. Just like the West Palace, it seems to be a part of Construction 434. I discovered this room a bit puzzling as a result of it would not have an apparent use. Nonetheless, it does remind me of a small throne room. I can visualize a ruler sitting on his throne on the highest stage whereas receiving official guests. That is solely my hypothesis, nevertheless. The room has a small terrace at its entrance. That is adopted by two ranges, the primary of which is mounted by three steps on the precise aspect. All of the dealing with stones are lower in Puuc model. Once more, these stones had been most likely re-cycled by the location’s Publish-Traditional builders.

Rulers #6 and #7. Hul Janaab Chanek (Ruler #6) is believed to have ascended the throne someday after 692 AD. He apparently didn’t have a very lengthy or memorable reign, as a result of he’s solely talked about on Stela 19, a monument he shares with Ruler #5. Chan Chuwaaj (Ruler #7), succeeded Hul Janaab Chanek. He devoted monuments in 711 and 721 AD. Each of those stelae painting him as a warrior-king, standing on captives. The prisoners had been taken after victories over the the Gulf Coast city-state of Champutun (fashionable Chapoton within the state of Campeche). Nonetheless, Ruler #7s victories seem to have been much less of a triumph than a final gasp. Through the 70 years following 721, no new monuments had been erected. This implies a interval of navy defeats and political eclipse. On the finish of this sculptural hiatus, Edzná’s ruling dynasty seems to have been displaced by a overseas group.

Champutun was an essential Chontol Maya metropolis. The Chontol (also referred to as the Putún) had been a special ethnic group than these in Edzná. Champutun was a seaport and related with the civilizations of central Mexico each by sea and land commerce routes. The Chontol are typically known as “Mexicanized” Maya. Their tradition was extremely militarized and had a really aggressive service provider class. In 700 AD, the Chontol started to take over many areas of central and northern Yucatan. This was doable due to the vacuum created by the decline of Calakmul after its disastrous defeat by Tikal in 695 AD. Calakmul by no means recovered its ascendency and, because of this, Edzná misplaced its protector. It was on this context that Edzná’s sculptural hiatus and alter in dynasty occurred

Construction 433: the south palace

The South Palace (Construction 433) borders the south aspect of the Patio. It types a proper angle with the West Palace, creating the Patio’s southwest nook. The West and South Palaces are just about similar. Above, you possibly can see the only rectangular room with its 4 pillars alongside the entrance. A slender terrace runs alongside the entrance between the pillars and the sting of the platform. A small, three-step staircase offers entry to the terrace and the construction.

Ruler #8 was Aj Koht Chawa Nahkaan. He seems on a number of stelae, however a very powerful of those is Stela 5, dated 790 AD. In some methods, the picture of Ruler #8 duplicates his predecessors, Aj Koht Chawa Nahkaan is proven carrying a scepter and a trilobate flint whereas standing on the prostrate physique of a defeated enemy. Nonetheless, his title and another facets of his stela depart from the normal formulae utilized by his predecessors. Taken collectively, these variations strongly counsel that the person who erected Edzná’s first stela in 70 years was a foreigner. 

For one factor, the phrase Koht (“eagle”) in his title will not be Maya however is from the Nahuatl language of central Mexico. The Chontol’s buying and selling community into the Nahuatl-speaking areas of central Mexico led them to undertake a few of the phrases they encountered. Moreover, Ruler #8 doesn’t use the normal title of “Holy King”, however calls himself “the principal of the land or territory”. This stress on territorial management suggests a hostile takeover. Lastly, conspicuous by its absence is the logo glyph used for hundreds of years to establish Edzná’s dynastic rulers. It seems that the defeated determine proven in Stela 5 represents Edzná’s outdated dynasty. Twenty years after Stela 5, Aj Koht Chawa Nahkaan erected Stela 9. Its date, 810 AD, marks the final particular Lengthy Rely date in Edzná’s historical past

An iguana strikes a dramatic pose. These guys often stay completely nonetheless, as if glad to be photographed. We discovered them in all places, which can clarify why somebody instructed that Edzná’s title means “Home of the Iguanas”. 

The dates 849 AD and 869 AD are related to the ninth century’s subsequent two rulers. That is the Terminal Traditional interval (also referred to as the Epi-Traditional). Neither of those dates are particular and we all know little concerning the two rulers besides their names. Ruler #9 was B’ahlam Ok’uk Ek Chan. Ruler #10 was a person we solely know from a fraction of his title: Ajan. The ninth century was the final gasp of the Maya Traditional period. It was a century of turmoil, intense navy conflicts, and dynastic modifications all through the Maya world. Nice cities like Tikal and Calakmul had been deserted to the jungle. Different city-states, particularly within the Yucatan Pensinula, had been integrated into a brand new worldwide order referred to as Zuyua. Edzná was one in every of these.

This new order arrived with the Mexicanized Chontol Maya from the Gulf Coast. They not solely seized Edzná, however teams of them progressively took over and remodeled different cities like Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Oxtkintok. Beneath the Zuyua Order, new ruling dynasties had been established within the conquered city-states. These dynasties adhered to a brand new faith based mostly on the Feathered Serpent, referred to as Kulkulkan. The Chontol invaders had been extremely militarized, with specialised eagle and jaguar warrior cults. Their economies had been managed by elite teams of merchant-traders who emphasised commerce and worshiped a dealer god that archeologists name God L.
The truth is, the same transformation was occurring on the identical time in central Mexico. Like the autumn of Calakmul, the top of Teotihuacán’s empire left a vacuum. Into it moved different teams of Mexicanized Maya from the Gulf Coast, referred to as the Olmeca Xicalanca (to not be confused with the a lot earlier Olmecs). They established new regional city-states to manage commerce routes and dominate assets. Amongst these had been Cacaxtla (north of Puebla) and Xochicalco (south of Cuernavaca). Many components of the Zuyua Order had been strongly emphasised by these new regional powers. These included worship of the Feathered Serpent (referred to as Quetzalcoatl in central Mexico), elite navy orders who wore eagle and jaguar regalia, and an aggressive class of merchant-traders who worshiped God L.

Edzná continued as a city-state into the Publish-Traditional period (1000-1500 AD) and was nonetheless inhabited till a number of a long time earlier than the arrival of the Spanish. Nonetheless, its Traditional period glory days had been over.

This completes the final a part of my sequence on Edzná. I hope you’ve got loved it. If that’s the case, please depart any ideas or questions within the Feedback part under or electronic mail me straight. Should you depart a query within the Feedback part, PLEASE embody your electronic mail tackle in order that I can reply.

Hasta luego, Jim

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