Saturday, February 25, 2012

1,000 Year Old Game Board Found in Mexico

From Latino Fox News

1,000-Year-Old Game Board Found in Mexico

Published February 23, 2012

A member of the team that found the artifact, Heber Ojeda, estimates the board was used between the 7th and 10th centuries during the Late Classic period of Dzibilnocac.

"It is an esgraffito scoreboard of approximately 50 centimeters (19.68 inches) on each side, which was discovered on the floor of the second highest space" in the building denoted A1, the archaeologist said.

Etched into the surface of the board are 58 rectangles of varying sizes and players would have used beans as game tokens, Ojeda said.

One of his colleagues, Judith Gallegos Gomora, said the board was designed for patolli, a game of chance described in Mayan codices and colonial Spanish chronicles.

She added, however, that the board bears a resemblance to the Maya quincunx, a schematic representation of the universe, and would likely also have been used for divination.

This image is not from the article - but it is a representation of patolli, from the Codex Florentinus, 1569.

This diagram shows various versions of the Mayan quincunx.  Interesting, no?  I found it in an online book published by the University of California Online Press from a book entitled Masks of the Spirit:  The Quincunx Variously Applied: a. Monte Albán Kan cross; b. Maya Kin glyph; c. Maya Lamat glyph;  d. Teotihuacán flower sign; e. Maya katun completion sign; f. Teotihuacán pecked cross;  g. Maya calendar from the Book of Chilam Balam of Kaua; h. Maya calendar from the Madrid Codex;  i. Aztec calendar from Durán; j. Mixtec calendar from the Codex Féjérvary-Mayer (a-e after Coggins 1980,  figs. 2a-d; f after Aveni 1980, fig. 71a;g-j after Aveni 1980, fig. 57).  I believe that it is meant to represent a three-dimensional concept of the heavens, the earth, and the underworld -- but I didn't read the book (just a few paragraphs of it) and so I could be wrong!  Here's the diagram - judge for yourself:

(Page 121, Masks of the Spirit, as presented online at UC Press E-Books Collection).

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