Archaeologists hailing from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have made a remarkable discovery—a captivating anthropomorphic statue representing a Maya death deity. This significant find originates from the Early Classic Period, specifically dating back to the years between AD 200 and 600.
Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) made a remarkable discovery during the construction of Section 7 of the Maya Train near Conhuas village in the Mexican state of Campeche. This significant finding sheds light on the rich cultural heritage of the Maya civilization.
The discovery consists of an anthropomorphic limestone statue dating back to the Early Classic Period, specifically between AD 200 and 600. This exquisite statue depicts a Maya death deity, possibly Cizin or Kisin, known for their association with the afterlife. Cizin, whose name translates to “Stinking One,” is believed to be the Maya god of death. According to Lacandon’s myth, Cizin is responsible for burning the soul upon death until it disintegrates completely.
The newly found statue stands at a height of 25 centimeters and portrays the deity in a seated position. It exhibits striking features, including an erect tabular cranial modification, a nose ring, and a mask. These attributes align with mortuary motifs and further strengthen the connection to a deity of death, as noted by the head of the INAH.
The archaeological site near Conhuas is of significant importance, as it is situated close to the ruins of Balamku, a Maya temple complex renowned for its well-preserved stucco friezes—one of the largest in the Maya world. This discovery adds to the growing body of knowledge about the ancient Maya civilization and provides valuable insights into their beliefs and artistic expression.
It is worth noting that the excavation efforts for Section 7 of the Maya Train project have uncovered numerous other remarkable finds. A staggering 21,960 immovable sites have been identified and will be protected for their historical significance. Additionally, the excavations have yielded 72,480 ceramic potsherds, 64 human burials, and 227 natural features associated with human occupation. These findings paint a vivid picture of the vibrant and complex society that once thrived in the region.
This recent discovery follows another significant finding in April 2023, where INAH archaeologists unearthed a statue of Kʼawiil, the Maya lightning god, during the same Section 7 excavations. Prior to this, only three statues of Kʼawiil had been discovered, all originating from Tikal in Guatemala. This rare finding contributes to our understanding of Maya mythology and the importance of Kʼawiil in their religious beliefs, particularly in connection to serpents, fertility, and maize.
The ongoing archaeological work along the Maya Train project is uncovering a wealth of cultural treasures and shedding new light on the history and heritage of the Maya civilization. These discoveries underscore the significance of preserving and studying these ancient sites, offering valuable insights into the past and enriching our knowledge of this fascinating ancient civilization.