Notes on a New Text from La Corona 37

by David Stuart

In April and May of this year the remains of an important hieroglyphic stairway were discovered at Structure 13R-10 at La Corona, Guatemala, during excavations undertaken by the Proyecto Regional Arqueológico La Corona, directed by Marcello Canuto (Tulane University) and Tomás Barrientos Quezada (Universided del Valle de Guatemala). This monument, now designated as Hieroglyphic Stairway 2 (HS 2) of La Corona, had been looted many decades earlier in the mid 1960s, and was clearly the source of many of the blocks long assigned to the “Site Q” corpus. Luckily the looters had missed the bottom-most step of the HS, which was discovered this year in the excavations overseen by Jocelyn Ponce of the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. Photographs of the excavation and of some of the stones can be found here, on the project’s website.

As project epigrapher I paid a visit to La Corona in May of this year in order to document and study the new texts and sculptures (my first time back there, incidentally, since our first archaeological recconaisance back in 1997). In this post I summarize the preliminary findings about the inscription on Block V of HS 2, which contains a number of important historical information about La Corona’s political history, as well as a curious reference to the upcoming bak’tun ending 13.0.0.0.0 – something that of course came as a special surprise. This text would have been a noteworthy find in any year, but its revelation now, just months before December 21, is extraordinary timing indeed.

Figure 1. Block V from La Corona, Hieroglyphic Stairway 2. Drawing by David Stuart, PRALC.

First, some important initial points regarding the Block V text:

  • This is the second ancient source known to mention the period ending 13.0.0.0.0 4 Ahaw 3 K’ank’in (December 23, 2012). The other, Monument 6 from Tortuguero, Mexico, has been known since the 1980s, and in the last couple of years has received a good deal of attention.
  • The main message of the new inscription is not at all about 2012 – rather it’s the commemoration of a visit to La Corona (Saknikte’) by the important Calakmul ruler Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ on January 29, 696 AD.
  • This inscription also mentions, in an incomplete and damaged passage, the possible establishment of the Kan or Kanul royal court at Calakmul in 635. This agrees very well with the scenario proposed by Simon Martin, whereby the emblem glyph – i.e., court designation — of Calakmul shifted during the Late Classic.
  • While perhaps disappointing to some, the newly found inscription has no prophetic message regarding what will happen in 2012. So why only mention the date but say nothing directly about its meaning or significance? Because it’s a future station of a big calendar cycle and so it was seen as worthy of mention in its own right. Ancient Maya scribes liked to record the comings and goings of various periods in their calendar, including future ones, because they were intimately tied to their political and religious life. In two texts they tied this future bak’tun ending to their contemporary world, mostly because of interesting numerological patterns that seemed cosmically relevant.

Historical Background

The late seventh century was a time of great political turmoil in the ancient Peten region. Calakmul, the seat of the Kan or Kanul royal court, had been an immensely powerful kingdom throughout the seventh century, during which time it continued to develop a long-standing rivalry with Tikal, its large neighbor to the south. Over many years Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’s father, Yuknoom Ch’een, had formed a large and complex alliance network throughout the southern Maya lowlands, surrounding Tikal’s territory and presumably disrupting much of its economic interests. Wars flared up among these rival factions throughout the decades of the seventh century, and culminated in a direct conflict between Calakmul and Tikal on August 3, 695, when Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ lost in battle to Jasaw Chan K’awiil, king of Tikal. Mayanists had long assumed that the Calakmul king died or was captured in this engagement, but the new La Corona text tells us otherwise: Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ was clearly active and on the move, visiting La Corona and perhaps other trusted allies in the wake of his own inglorious defeat. Another newly found La Corona text tells us that Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ died not long afterwards, on March 31, 698.

La Corona had been for decades a prominent ally of the Kan court, and the two centers were bound also through strong family ties. Yuknoom Ch’een’s daughter had married a local La Corona king, whose younger brother, Chak Ak’ach Yuk, was on the Saknikte’ throne in 696. Clearly Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ was visiting more than just political allies after his defeat – he was visiting his close family relations. In carving this small block, the local lord of La Corona was once more asserting and documenting his strong political and familial alliance with Calakmul.

So why the reference to the year 2012? As is usual, the reason mostly has to do with the cosmological dimensions of ancient Maya politics and kingship. Calakmul’s king had only recently celebrated an important ending of 13 K’atun calendar cycle, in the year 692 (9.13.0.0.0), and in this text he is called a “13 K’atun lord.” The scribe has used this important ritual fact to project forward to when the next higher period of the Maya calendar will also reach 13 – a sacred Maya number — which will come on December 21, 2012 (13.0.0.0.0). There is no prediction involved; it is simply a literary device used by the scribe to place local political history in a larger cosmological framework.

Preliminary Comments on the Text

The dates and events recorded on Block V are as follows, in chronological order:

  • (a) 9.10.2.1.10 10 Ok 8 Kumk’u – Ballgame at Saknikte’ (La Corona) involving Yuknoom Ch’een of Calakmul
  • (b) 9.10.2.4.4 12 Kan 17 Woh – Possible “Founding” of Kan court at Calakmul
  • (c) 9.10.2.4.5 13 Chicchan 18 Woh – unknown; event missing
  • (d) 9.13.3.16.17 8 Kaban 10 Kumk’u – Visit of Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ to Saknikte’; carving of k’an tuun.
  • (e) 10.0.0.0.0 7 Ahaw 18 Sip – Future PE
  • (f) 13.0.0.0.0 4 Ahaw 3 K’ank’in – Future PE

Three of these dates (a, c and d) are wholly or partially missing, but they are reconstructable using the Distance Numbers visible in the inscription. A key example is the DN 6.16.1.3, recorded in blocks E6 and F6, that counts from one such missing date to the future 10.0.0.0.0 7 Ahaw 18 Sip Bak’tun ending. The starting point for this calculation is 9.13.3.16.17 8 Kaban 10 Kumku. This is surely the date for the visit the Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’, mentioned at C5-D6. It seems likely to me that this same date was mentioned in the opening passage of the text (columns A and B) given how prominent it is featured.

Another Distance Number can be made out at C3 and D3, with “3 k’atuns” just visible in the final position. This leads to the visit from a still earlier episode, recorded in columns A and B. The well-preserved CR date at the bottom of column B is 13 Chickchan 18 Woh, which, in light of the DN, must be 9.10.2.4.5. The record at B6a of “17 Woh” suggests an event one day earlier, on 9.10.2.4.4 12 K’an 17 Woh.

It was on this day that we see a key historical record, written at B6b. This is a verb familiar from other Maya inscriptions, nearly always appearing in association with place names. There is as yet no firm reading for the logogram sign that is the basis for this verb, but we know it seems to refer to the “founding” or “beginning” of rulers or of royal courts at specific locations. For example, it appears on Palenque’s Temple XVII panel before the place name Lakamha’, where it seems to refer to the establishment of an Early Classic king at a new location. Likewise it occurs on Piedras Negras Throne 1 as an Early Classic event, together with the “Paw Stone” place name of Piedras Negras. I have along assumed it refers to the creation of new political seats of power, even despite a firm phonetic reading. Here, it appears above the snake head with a ka- prefix – a distinctive combination we otherwise know to be the Emblem Glyph of Calakmul and Dzibanche. It seems reasonable to suppose that this event refers to the “founding” of the Kan or Kanul (Snake) court at the great center we know today as Calakmul – an interpretation that agrees very well with Simon Martin’s brilliant reconstruction of shifting court identifies Calakmul history (Martin 2005). As Martin noted several years ago:

The “short dynastic count” indicates that Yuknoom Ch’een exercised a pivotal place in the self-definition of the dynasty and its time at Calakmul, consistent with the idea that he was involved in a special “reconstitution” of the polity—apparently involving the relocation of the royal seat to Calakmul by him or his predecessor (emphasis added). The conspicuous success of the Snake kings in extending a network of patronage and military power in the sixth century may have made a more southerly location advantageous—which is not to ignore the potential symbolic value of occupying an ancient site that was once part of the Preclassic “heartland.” (Martin 2005:7)

Martin posited that this establishment of the Snake emblem at Calakmul took place under Yuknoom Ch’een, who we know to have acceded in 636 AD, (or 9.10.3.5.10 8 Ok 18 Sip; the 1 k’atun anniversary of this appears on Altar 1 of La Corona). The “founding” event recorded on Block V is on 9.10.2.4.4 – just over a year prior to the king’s inauguration. I would therefore argue, still somewhat tentatively, that Yuknoom Ch’een’s reign began right on the heels of the Snake court’s transference to Calakmul from Dzibanche. This was without question one of the major political events of Classic Maya history.

Returning to the particulars of Block V, it is important to note that neither of the two Woh dates mentioned at the bottom of columns A and B seems to be the starting point of the damaged DN written at C3, D3, which involves a span of over three k’atuns. I base this assumption on the glyph at C4 (pi-tzi-ji?-ya yu(ku)-CH’EEN) which points to the DN as counting from a ballgame event involving Yuknoom Ch’een. With only this single text to consider we might be left at sea trying to calculate the details of these events and time-spans, but resolution and clarity may come from another text discovered this year in HS 2, which also records a pitz ballgame involving Yuknoom Ch’een. Its date is 9.10.2.1.10 10 Ok 8 Kumk’u – just a short few months before the Calakmul founding. If we use this as the baseline for the DN (3.1?.?.?), we will find that it fits very well with the chronological details still to be discussed.

The featured event in the block comes as the result of this DN calculation, linking a ballgame in the distant past to a new, contemporaneous event. The verb (C5a) is a familiar one, i huli (“and then he arrives”), and its subject is named at C6 is Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ (yu-ku-no-yi-ICH’AAK-ki-K’AHK’) – another famous Calakmul king who was Yuknoom Ch’een’s successor (the skeletal head in his name glyph probably relates to a rare (Y)ICH’AAK head variant found in some early inscriptions). The Calakmul ruler also assumes an interesting title in the glyph preceding his name (D5) written as 18-U-BAAH-CHAN-nu. Waxaklahuun Ub’aah Chan is otherwise known as the name for the so-called Teotihuacan War Serpent, found in much militaristic iconography. I suspect that it here refers to a supernatural aspect or identity of the visiting Calakmul king, who was perhaps formally dressed in the trappings of a Teotihuacan-inspired warrior. The same ruler has the title also in Stela 1 from La Corona, in connection with his celebration of the k’atun ending 9.13.0.0.0.

It is noteworthy that no date is given for this royal visit. We will see that we can reconstruct the date based on the clear DN that follows, but its absence here strongly points to its having been recorded at the beginning of Block V’s inscription, in the opening passage now completely lost. This middle portion of the inscription therefore seems to reiterate the featured event after a sequence of passages that have given it some important context: that the royal visit by Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ occurs 60 years after an earlier ballgame at La Corona involving Yuknoom Ch’een, and about so much time after the seminal events of that king’s reign.

One interesting grammatical feature of this passage is the use of an independent pronoun ha’i (ha-i) immediately after the verb at C5b. I interpret its use here as a means of rhetorical emphasis, marking a subject who is not Yuknoom Ch’een, who has just been mentioned in the preceding phrase. I would translate the passage thus:

i huli ha’i Waxakluhuun Ub’aah Chan Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ k’uhul Kan ajaw.

“…then it is he who arrives, Waxaklahun Ubaah Chan Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’, the holy Kan lord.”

The arrival passage goes on for a number of glyphs, and includes mention of the another name after yi-ta (at C7). This is difficult to identify, but the eroded glyph at E1 looks as though it might be the name of a familiar figure from La Corona history, Chak Ak’ach Yuk, who would in fact have been ruler of La Corona at this time. This seems to be confirmed by the parentage statement at E2 through F5, where we see the names of Chak Ak’ach Yuk’s mother and father, Ix Chak Tok Ich’aak (F3) and Chak Nahb Chan (E5). The son and the parents are well known from other La Corona texts.

The well preserved DN at E6-F6 is 6.16.1.3, linking the focus of the narrative – the royal visit – to an anticipated Period Ending in the future, recorded at F7-H1 as “7 Ahaw 18 Sip, the tenth Bak’tun.” So now we have the date of the king’s arrival firmly anchored:

9.13. 3.16.17 8 Kaban 10 Kumk’u

+ 6.16. 1. 3

10. 0. 0. 0. 0 7 Ahaw 18 K’ank’in

And taking the earlier ballgame of Yuknoom Ch’een into account, we now can firmly reconstruct the earlier DN as C3 and D3 as:

9.10. 2. 1.10 10 Ok 8 Kumk’u

+ 3. 1.15. 7

9.13. 3.16.17 8 Kaban 10 Kumk’u

The passage from G2-H5 does not pertain to the future bak’tun ending, but instead notes something else that took place on the day of the king’s visit to la Corona — the carving of a k’an tuun stone (at H2, surely Block V itself) at Saknikte’ by the local ruler Chak Ak’ach Yuk (G4). This was witnessed or sanctioned by the visiting Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’, named at G5.

This dramatic leap forward in the narrative timeframe coupled with by a rapid return to the narrative present mirrors a pattern I have discussed earlier. Other texts at La Corona and elsewhere use the same rhetorical “boomerang” to anchor the narrative in terms of Period Endings yet to come, but always with a reiteration of the main event. Tortuguero’s Monument 6 presents another example. The closing passage in that inscription occupies a position parallel to G2-H5 here – not as a description of what will happen, but as a restatement of contemporary events.

As already noted, the Calakmul king takes the very unusual title “the 13 k’atun lord” (H5), clearly in reference to this king’s celebration of 9.13.0.0.0 in 692, just three years earlier. This title is reminiscent of another I know on an Early Classic celt, where a ruler who celebrated the bak’tun ending 9.0.0.0.0 is named as a “9 bak’tun lord.” Interestingly, Stela 1 of La Corona notes the 9.13.0.0.0 date and its ritual celebration by Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’, which was then witnessed by Chak Ak’ach Yuk of La Corona. Again this points again to the tight relations between the two centers.

The placement of the “13 k’atun lord” title is in clear juxtaposition with what comes next – the record of 4 Ahaw 3 K’ank’in (13.0.0.0.0), 3 bak’tuns forward in time. One curious glyph that intercedes is at G6a, apparently ha-jo-ma. I am not certain how to analyze this possible verb or temporal statement, but the ending clearly incorporates the suffixes –Vj-oom, the latter being a common future marker (as in tzutz-j-oom, “it will end” or “it will have ended.”). It occupies the position where we would usually find a DN, before uht-oom, “it will happen.” I wonder if this might be in some way related to the Ch’olan temporal adverb hal, “a long time,” due to its future position in the narrative: “it will be a long time…” Might there be a –la infix in the forehead of the skull, to give ha-la-jo-ma? An attractive possibility, perhaps, but still highly speculative. The record of “3 bak’tuns” at the very end of the text of course tells us that the 2012 PE is three such periods after 10.0.0.0.0.

Conclusion

This remains a very preliminary assessment of the new La Corona inscription, and a more formal analysis of the block and the other new texts is now in preparation. The basic message of this one text is nonetheless clear: it commemorates a key political event in the life of La Corona’s court, namely the visit by a ruling king of Calakmul just months after he had been defeated in war. No details of the shifting geopolitics of this time are given, but we do have an emphasis on the episode’s temporal and cosmological context. Soon before his defeat at the hands of Tikal, Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ had been the celebrant of the great k’atun ending of the era, 9.13.0.0.0. His unusual title here “13 k’atun lord” emphasizes this key part of his identity, and is carefully juxtaposed with a mention of the like-in-kind 13.0.0.0.0 bak’tun ending in order to place the king’s rule and status on a much broader temporal stage. So even in inglorious defeat, Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ was still the King of Time.

Acknowledgements: I would like to express my special thanks to Marcello Canuto and Tomás Barrientos Quezada for their support, insights, and hospitality in the field. My activities at La Corona were supported by PRALC as well as the Mesoamerica Center in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin.

UPDATE: It is important to clarify that the idea of a shift in the use of the Kan or Kanul emblem glyph from Dzibanche to Calakmul was also developed and published by Erik Velasquez Garcia, who presented his findings at the 2004 Mesa Redonda de Palenque. This important article was eventually published in 2008 (Velásquez Garcia 2008).

Reference Cited

Martin, Simon, 2005. Of Snakes and Bats: Shifting Identities at Calakmul. The PARI Journal 6(2):5-15. http://www.mesoweb.com/pari/publications/journal/602/SankesBats.pdf

Velásquez Garcia, Erik. 2008. Los posibles alcances territoriales de la influencia política de Dzibanché durante el Clásico temprano: nuevas alternativas para interpretar las menciones históricas sobre la entidad política de Kan. In El territorio maya: memoria de la Quinta Mesa Redonda de Palenque, pp. 323-352, edited by Rodrigo Liendo Stuardo. México, D.F.: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia.

37 comments

  1. Hi, I have 2 questions:

    (1) Can you tell me where is the 13 Baktun glyph on the panel?
    (2) The date 4 Ahaw 3 K’ank’in happens every 52 years, right?

    • There is no “13 bak’tun” glyph in this text, but the “3 bak’tuns” in the last block nails the identification by specifying the interval counted from 10.0.0.0.0, which is clearly recorded at the top of the last two columns (10.0.0.0.0 + 3.0.0.0.0 = 13.0.0.0.0). You are correct that 4 Ahaw 3 K’ank’in is a calendar round date that would repeat every 52 years, but here there’s no question it refers to 13.0.0.0.0.

      • Neat, now I understand! By the way, why is number 13 a sacred Maya number? Where can I read more about it?

  2. David, if we read , may be it is related to the “Cross-bands” verb that appears in relation to 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u?

    • Cf. Tzeltal /halajel/ vi. “durar, permanecer, tardar”; pGrTze /hal/ `a long time’; CHL /jal’an/ `vi tardarse’.

      So, /jaljo’m ‘uhto’m/ “It will exist, it will happen”

      • Right, Dmitri. I think the solution might center on this same /hal/ and its cognates — I just wish I could find the -la!

  3. Dear Dave, what a fascinating finding.

    Maybe this text also provides a phonetic spelling of the small snake sign (T206). On step 1, block 6 you have the following collocation: [...] mu-lu a-nu CHAK … . I wonder if this spelling is identical to a collocation found on the Chancala panel which is: T206 a-nu CHAK. T206 is a small snake which is very often attached to Tzolk’in dates or also attested in the UX-T206-K’UH collocation which I discuss in my dissertation. Now my hypothesis: if the deity name mentioned on the CRN step is identical with the one found on the Chancala panel my guess is that T206 is logographic MUL which is a numeral classifier, so the collocation ux-T206-k’uh is UXMULK’UH “three-stacked-gods” and in the case of calendar dates maybe stacked days … this is so fascinating.

    Best, Christian

  4. Hi Christian, I like your observation connecting that name to the Chancala example. But might I suggest something a bit different as to the reading of the little snake element: perhaps it could be NUM. The name on Block VI (I still have to draw it) is nu-mu-lu a-nu-CHAHK, and I think it’s for a historical person. The block records his defeat at the hands of La Corona’s ruler Yajawte’ K’inich, using the phrase: /hub’uy u took’ pakal ma’ u ch’ab’-ak’bil Numul Ahn Chahk ? ajaw/. If the two names are parallel as you suggest, and I like the idea, my guess is that the snake would be best read as a logogram for NUM. At least it’s something to test. /Num/ is a root for “pasar,” but in Ch’ol it also has the related sense of “exceed.” This meaning might fit the DN contexts well at Palenque, Tortuguero, etc. Anyway, something to keep thinking about, and fascinating as you say. – David

    • Hi David,

      I agree and it makes sense. I could not read the first sign from the photograph publishe so I simply put in the [...]. Thanks for sharing this information. You have seen the original and identified the /nu/ sign which would make so much sense. NUM is also a classifier, alas, see the entries from the Cordemex: “-NUM 7, 8: terminacion para numeral’ cardinales y significa vez 2. ~NUMIL 7: terminacion para numeros ordinales; yax hun numil: primer instante:8: V. num.”. NUM also means “alway, many times, evey” and num k’in is “all the day, todo el dia”. This would make so much sense in the contexts of the Calendar round expressions that go with T206, saying “it is [day name] all the day” – maybe these expression are related to the NUM K’IN expressions or other calendaric expressions like NUM HA’AB “all the year”.

      Thanks again, Christian

  5. Thanks for posting your drawing and analysis of this text, Dave! This is an incredible find in many ways.

    What also interests me is that all of these blocks seem to have been carved in several different styles. It looks like you are labeling what seems to be this first visible panel in the sequence as Block 5, so I’ll follow suit.

    From what I can see, all of the panels are not in their original sequence, since Block 9 shows the recognizable date from the bottom of the Dallas Panel of 9.12.6.16.17 11 Kaban 10 Sotz’, followed by a DN of 13.18, leading directly to the date given at the beginning of Block 11 as 3 Men 8 Kumk’u, which would correspond to 9.12.7.12.15. The 11 Kaban 10 Sotz’ date corresponds with the arrival of one of the daughters of Yuknoom Ch’en, yes? This seems to be what we find on Block 9, though her name appears to be more complex here.

    Another DN follows on Block 11 of 17.9 and this takes us to the day given at the end of the text as 1 K’an, which should be 9.12.8.12.4, 1 K’an 12 K’ayab. This has to continue with the text in Glyphic Panel A, which begins with the Haab date 12 K’ayab and describes the death of a king (…wa-[bird]-AJAW) and then counts forward 16 days to 9.12.8.13.0, 4 Ajaw 8 Kumk’u—the historical repeat of the Era day. Here it says they “dance a second time”, which you seem to mention in the press release video, yes?

    So it looks like Block 10 (or the 6th panel in the sequence which Christian references above) is curiously out of place. This seems to jibe with its different appearance, while Block 9 and Block 11 appear to be inscribed by the same hand/style, and they clearly fit in with Glyphic Panel A. Do you think that some of these panels were salvaged after having been dismantled in the conflict? I wonder why they would have put them back together so haphazardly.

    Block 10 appears to match the other inverted “L”-shaped texts we see in Glyphic Panels 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Do you have any sense of how the CR date 7? Ik 15 Kumk’u fits in the chronology? It seems to refer to a prior day 9 days earlier, given that the text on Block 10 begins with 9-la-ta, yes?

    Having said this, is Block 5 directly associated with any other panel that you know of?

    Thanks very much!

    All the best,
    Michael

    • …woops! I misunderstood Christian’s reference to HS1, Block VI. This is different from HS 2, block X which I discuss above. My apologies, as I was using another labeling system based on the press release images.

  6. Hi Michael, HS 2 is composed of blocks from several different original staircases. We suspect it was constructed near the Terminal Classic period, using stones from other structures at La Corona. This isn’t really that unusual — stairways at several sites are jumbled and re-set like this (Resbalon, Edzna, Naranjo — it’s a remarkable pattern that no one has studied in detail, although I have a grad student who will be looking at some of this issue in his dissertation). So obviously most of these weren’t read together in any meaningful sequence. However, that being said, we’ve been able to place many blocks into a meaningful original order by using the looted portions as well. A great deal is still missing. Too much to go into now, but we’re reporting on all of that next month at the simposio in Guatemala City. – David

    • Thanks, David. It certainly makes an interesting puzzle for us to try to piece it back together! I look forward to your report.

      I notice that HS 2, Block VIII seems to contain another count forward to Bak’tun 10, though the Haab date is given in error as 8 Sip, rather than 18 Sip. The CR that follows looks like 7 Chikchan 3 K’ank’in for the dedication of the monument, and I’m wondering what LC this may be, and if there is any possible intentional Haab parallel with the 4 Ajaw 3 K’ank’in in block V. However, the two blocks may be unrelated if they are from different staircases. Any chance these blocks may be from the same staircase?

      Cheers,
      Michael

  7. Hi, Dave, and thanks so much for sharing this wonderful discovery!

    I have been mulling over what look like two discourse markers associated with the future 4 Ajaw 3 K’ank’in date. The first is compatible with the function of ha’i earlier in the text:

    i huli ha’i Waxakluhuun Ub’aah Chan Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ k’uhul Kan ajaw.

    “…then it is he who arrives, Waxaklahun Ubaah Chan Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’, the holy Kan lord.”

    I would suggest that ha-jo-ma spells ha’ joom, and that this is the (indeed, fronted! :) ) subject of uhtoom in a focus construction ha’ joom uhtoom ‘this is the sinking (i.e.completion) which will happen: ‘. We know that the “half-period” expression TAN-LAM–literally ‘center of the sinking’ incorporates a root meaning ‘to sink down’ with a derivation lamay ‘central, centro’ (Cordemex 438-439). So I speculate that joom–a /jVC/ noun meaning ‘abyss, sinkhole, (zanja, cima, hoya, o barranca oscura: Cordemex 228-229, Motul 398-399) is a reference to the (dare I say it?) completion of thirteen piks invoked as an echo of the thirteen k’atuns incorporated into the title of Yich’ak K’ahk’ which immediately precedes this.

    The second discourse marker ila follows the “three bak’tuns” which in turn follow 3 K’ank’in. III-PIK-ki-la : uux pik ila ‘three bak’tuns (are) these’ (which count from 10.0.0.0.0).

    Thanks abundantly and best wishes to you and the La Corona project!!

    Barb MacLeod

  8. The LC for that step (k’antuun ehb’) dedication is 9.10.19.1.10 7 Ok 3 K’ank’in. This is exactly 17 tuns after the pitz ballgame recorded on Blocks V and VII. And no, VII and VIII (which join) are not from the same original HS as Block V. As far as we can tell Block V is an isolate.

  9. Hi Dave and Barb! But isn’t it 3-PIK-la-ta or do you really think it is 3-PIK-ki-la?

    • 1. I agree with Yuri that the final block is 3-PIK-ta-la / la-ta.
      2. I can hardly beleive that /pik ila/ can be written as

  10. Hi Dave,
    Nice work – brilliant reconstruction of the missing information. I’m curious about your meaning when you write:

    “So why the reference to the year 2012? As is usual, the reason mostly has to do with the cosmological dimensions of ancient Maya politics and kingship.”

    By “cosmological dimensions” are you referring to astronomy? Would you explicitly exclude astronomy from consideration? You also identify a likely strategy of referencing 2012 on the La Corona block as “a literary device used by the scribe to place local political history in a larger cosmological framework” and “numerological patterns that seemed cosmically relevant.” Do you think that a similar literary device may have been employed on Tortuguero Monument 6, involving a larger “cosmological framework” suggested somehow by the 2012 date? Thanks for making your research and drawing available.

    • Like many anthropologists, when I use the word “cosmology” I’m not referencing astronomy or astrology. I’m really talking about large-scale world view, conceptions of universal structure and the like. The way I see it, the author of the text on the La Corona block was interested in situating contemporary history in terms of larger calendar cycles and structures, which I see as mostly numerological in nature (i.e., the juxtaposition of the 13s). My basic rule of thumb — and some would disagree of course — is that unless there is an explicit astronomical term of reference there in a text, then a considerable burden of proof exists to demonstrate conclusively that a mention of a given date or event is astronomically motivated.

  11. Pingback: What about those inscriptions in Guatemala referring to 2012? | The Complete MesoAmerica… and more

  12. Hello Mr Stuart;

    In light of Sven and Barbara’s work (WAYEB 2012 Renayalsyis) interpreting an prophetic invesititure/office taking (Even; dare I say it, Coronation?) in 2012. I find it interesting that the historical king in this text is hinting that he will be the prophesied ruler of 2012. Yes I know you disagree that the text Sven interpreted was propheticaly intended but instead based on (boomeranging) langauge but you must have a little appreciation for the whole possibility of this ‘other’ way of reading it? Thanks for your amazing efforts.

  13. Hi Brett, Thanks. Well, the La Corona inscription doesn’t say anything at all about Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ahk’ still being ruler in 2012. Rather it’s just linking his celebration of 9.13.0.0.0 in history to the same numerical position of the next higher cycle at 13.0.0.0.0. For me, the idea the Maya were getting at is that the king’s duties as a “13 k’atun lord” have deep-time resonance into the future, but we have to be careful not to read much more into it.

  14. Hi, Yuriy and Dmitri: The first sign in Dave’s drawing does look like a ki. But now that I have studied carefully the closeup photo of this portion of the text, I concur that this looks more like a ta (or half a ta) partly overlapped by la. So: la-ta works well for me; I agree with you both.

    Hi, Bret: The story on this panel–from what Dave has indicated–appears to be contained entirely within this block. Here no future event accompanies the far- future Calendar Round date other than its “happening”.

    To be a bit clearer than before, I suggest that the ha (an independent pronoun used as a focusing device) at G6a points *back* to the thirteen k’atuns in the preceding title at H5. I translate the whole collocation ha’ joom uhtoom as ‘this (is the) completion (which) will happen (on) 4 Ajaw 3 K’ank’in’. The message would be ‘take my title and multiply by twenty’. I would not extend this to suggest that Yich’ak K’ahk’ will rule in 2012, but rather, I’d echo Dave’s view that the king’s current role has deep-time resonance.

    One can look to the west tablet of the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque to get a better understanding of the implications:

    http://www.mesoweb.com/articles/guenter/TI.html

    On the TI west tablet the thirteenth bak’tun is resoundingly absent, but the twelfth and fourteenth are registered along with deep future events featuring the newly-deceased ruler K’inich Janab Pakal and his continuing obligations to his gods.

    • Barb,
      It may be that the unlikely idea that a Maya king would “take the throne again” at a future PE comes from Guenter’s statements to that effect in his article that you cited and linked to. In that piece, Guenter writes:

      “…in Maya belief, not only was this [the 20th Bak’tun] the anniversary of K’inich Janaab’ Pakal, but it was probably also conceived in some manner that he would become king again” and that the Palenque scribes “may well have intended the reader to know that in 4772 their king, K’inich Janaab’ Pakal, would reign again” (Guenter 2007: 43-44).

      In your Wayeb no. 34 essay with Sven (2010), you suggested that somehow Bahlam Ajaw might be present for the ceremony or investiture rite with Bolon Yokte in 2012. Not sure if you still hold to that, but in my forthcoming chapter in Benfer’s anthology, and in previous publications, I’ve suggested that:

      “It is difficult to understand the subtleties of how the Maya conceived of these links between contemporary rulers and future period endings. Concepts such as “the return of the divine king” are reminiscent of Western-derived ideologies of the future return of Christ, or King Arthur, and are probably not useful analogies in this Maya context. Rather, as I proposed for the scenario of Bahlam Ajaw’s expected presence at the 2012 rite, Pakal may have been prepared as an honored ancestor to be invoked into manifestation for the 20th Bak’tun occasion, similar to how deceased ancestors were invoked to be present for contemporary rites.”

      Clearly, something different is taking place in the La Corona text because no action takes place at the 2012 date. But, nevertheless, something similar to the TRT text is identifiable in Yuknoom’s strategy of highlighting the 9.13 Katun date and the 13.0.0.0.0 Baktun date. As with the “literary device” used by Bahlam, Yuknoom may have exploited a circumstance of his birthday astronomy to link himself to 9.13 and thereby to 2012. This is explained in my La Corona piece: http://thecenterfor2012studies.com/LaCorona-2012.pdf. For all we know, Yuknoom’s birthday may be mentioned at the obliterated beginning of the text. At least we know it from elsewhere.

  15. I should further clarify this, Bret. I would not suggest that either Pakal or Bahlam Ajaw of Tortuguero was expected to be sitting on some celestial throne in deep-future time but rather that the obligations of kingship, if properly met, have potent favorable outcomes in the deep future. Consider the statement associated with the future twelfth bak’tun on the Palenque TI: yak’aw u tu(l)tal chanal k’uh, kabal k’uh ‘he (Pacal) gives them their proper places, sky gods (and) earth gods’. This echoes what one finds in era-day statements on those two famous vases wherein sky gods and earth gods as well as Balun Yookte’ and other gods are ‘set in order’ (tz’ahk-aj).

  16. Hello Everyone

    Guess I touched off a bit off a firestorm. Very helpful comments. Mr. Jenkins I know it is contested in modern scholarship but Cortez’s account of Montezuma is parmamount to your comment (Although he was Aztec; some find a relation to certain Mayan traditions). Montezuma at some point offered over his ‘throne’ as he perceived Cortez as the prohesied ruler to come adding weight that there was a ‘king arthur’ expectation. These are Cortez’s own words. I would note that only the most modern scholars contest cortez’s claim. By the way; since Mr. Jenkins is reading this & his interest is astronomy there was a Venus transit in 1518 a year before Cortez came and according to one NASA researcher; an Aztec artifact in the British Museum shows Montezuma’s calendar priests celebrated it giving cause to their reaction to Cortez. SInce the Mayan’s followed its cycles it is likely this was a similiar tradition. Sven and Barbara did a great job of showing how the Mayan’s did prophecy about an ‘investiture’ showing this arthurian legend is valid. Any thoughts?

    Bret

    • Bret & Co: It is not so much about them “ruling” in 2012. Consider these inscriptions as their stated intent to “return” as in reincarnate at this time. Tibetan lamas such as the Dalai Lama, practice conscious death and rebirth. They want to be here to participate in what is happening this year, not just on 13.0.0.0.0. What this is has not been addressed in this discussion so far. Also the Dresden Codex has the formula for calculating the periods between Venus Transits. Funny to see NASA researchers respected as authorities in Aztec astrology now.
      David: Any evidence the Maya believed in reincarnation or transmigration of souls?

      • And maybe they are reincarnate as some of the more popular and passionate 2012 players, such as Jose Arguelles (as claimed by him), John Major Jenkins (an obvious choice) and of course, David Stuart (gifted with the ability to read the glyphs, once again).

  17. Hello Mr. Mardyks;

    Thanks for your insight. I meant the NASA qoute to be about astronomy not astrology (Although; to some they are intimately related or even unseperable subjects, Perhaps in ancient Babylon escpecially). Yes; NASA experts are capable of having some insight into ancient astronomy as well as we all are; but no, I agree they are not the final experts in ancient astonomy or astrology. Good point. I actually prefer Dr. Krupp’s (echoes of ancient skies) work on ancient astronomy best. Although; this may be a touchy issue to bring up as he has been curtly opposed to the 2012 planetary alignment theory.

    -Bret

    • Bret,
      Well, you hit the nail on the head very nicely with the problems that people have with “the 2012 planetary alignment theory.” Guess what? It’s not about a “planetary alignment.” That evokes in peoples’ minds a conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, etc. As I’ve defined and identified in numerous books and articles since the early 90s, it’s the alignment of the solstice sun with the cross of the Milky Way and the ecliptic — a precession-caused FACT of astronomy.

      Krupp actually does not fall prey to this misunderstanding, but instead criticizes my “2012 alignment theory” because the slow precessional shifting of the sidereal position of the solstice sun takes 36 years to shift through the galactic equator, and the precise midpoint is 1998. This is 14 years away from 2012. Krupp, like other critics, require that the ancient Maya made an absolutely precise forward calculation in the precession of the equinoxes, a forward calculation of at least 2,000 years. and therefore my theory is “debunked.” This, obviously, is an absurdly unrealistic requirement of ancient naked-eye astronomers. Fourteen years is a totally negligible interval within the slow shifting of precession. I responded to Ed Krupp’s critique on http://update2012.com/responsetoKrupp.html as well as in my chapter in “2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse” (ed. Dr. Joseph Gelfer, Equinox Publications, 2011). Since astronomer Kristine Larsen decided to echo Krupp’s unrealistic and unwarranted critique, I provided a review of her comments here: http://update2012.com/Gelferanthology.pdf

      Please be apprised of my responses to the under-informed critics, who always do not even accurately summarize what my work is about nor address the evidence I bring to bear on my arguments. If we were to believe NASA 2012 spokesman David Morrison, for example, the galactic alignment is not even real astronomy. Tell that to astronomers Jean Meeus and Patrick Wallace who calculated it, and who I cited in my 2002 book called Galactic Alignment. There’s been evidence for an awareness of this solstice alignment with the cross of the Milky Way and ecliptic for some time, at Izapa and on Tortuguero Monument 6. I presented this and defended this in my 2010 SAA presentation (a by-invitation-only academic venue) and in the MEC-FACEBOOK debate sponsored by the Maya Exploration Center in late 2010 (here: http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/MEC-Facebook-Discussion-2010-ON-Jenkins-SAA-TRT-Astronomy.pdf).

      I realize it’s difficult to pierce through all the 2012 disinformation in the marketplace; that’s partially what my endless, thankless, and underpaid, work is about. You can read the clarifying details in my 2009 book called The 2012 Story.

      And now, to return to the La Corona monument, an analysis of the astronomy on the date of that monument, and Yuknoom Yich’aak’s strategy, is very suggestive of his astronomical strategies which indeed parallel the “literary device” used by Lord Jaguar at Toruguero.

      • John: You don’t seem to get the point I am making. So once again: the galactic alignment is much more than a solstice alignment. If the solstices are aligned with galactic structure, so are the equinoxes with the galactic poles! So is/are the celestrial pole(s)! The entire octahedron shaped “system” is aligning within the “greater whole”; the Galaxy. It is the geometry and harmonics of the pyramid shape within the cosmos that is the key here. The Maya build more pyramids than all other cultures combined. Why? I have consistantly found your promotion of a truncated galactic alignment causing more confusion than the enlightment we originally intended. Also you are giving meaning to astronomical events and so YOU are doing astrology as you define it. We don’t see David Stuart going there! The galactic alignment has not received acceptance because it has not been sufficiently explained as of yet, imho. I don’t believe you get it yet either. Try understanding what I am actually saying here without fitting it in your preconceived ideas. It won’t fit and that’s the point!

    • When I imagine a Maya astrologer considering a possible galactic alignment, s/he knows the equinoxes and solstices form a cross. If s/he understands precession, then s/he know the celestial pole is also moving. Visually connecting these five points in the five sacred directions forms half an octahedron. Is it hard to imagine s/he can see the basic geometric shape in most all Maya pyramids in the sky? I coined galactic alignment in relationship to 2012 solely within an astrological context. This is in a symbolic and metaphoric language. It is not a literal, scientific cause and effect astronomical event. There is much more to the galactic alignment than a one dimensional solstice/dark rift line of sight alignment.

      • Carl Jung developed synchronicity as a theory of meaningful coincidences to explain astrology. With that in mind, the recently revealed Xultun Moon Calendar of 162 Moons covers the time period between the 1998/1999 galactic alignment and 2012 with authentic Maya timekeeping. The La Corona news hit the media precisely 6 Moons before 13.0.0.0.0!

      • Bret and Ray,
        Well, you hit the nail on the head very nicely with the problems that people have with “the 2012 planetary alignment theory.” But it’s not about a “planetary alignment.” That evokes in peoples’ minds a conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, etc. As I’ve defined and identified in numerous books and articles since the early 90s, it’s the alignment of the solstice sun with the cross of the Milky Way and the ecliptic — a precession-caused FACT of astronomy.

        Krupp actually does not fall prey to this misunderstanding, but instead criticizes my “2012 alignment theory” because the slow precessional shifting of the sidereal position of the solstice sun takes 36 years to shift through the galactic equator, and the precise midpoint is 1998. This is 14 years away from 2012. Krupp, like other critics, require that the ancient Maya made an absolutely precise forward calculation in the precession of the equinoxes, a forward calculation of at least 2,000 years. and therefore my theory is “debunked.” This, obviously, is an absurdly unrealistic requirement of ancient naked-eye astronomers. Fourteen years is a totally negligible interval within the slow shifting of precession. I responded to Ed Krupp’s critique on http://update2012.com/responsetoKrupp.html as well as in my chapter in “2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse” (ed. Dr. Joseph Gelfer, Equinox Publications, 2011). Since astronomer Kristine Larsen decided to echo Krupp’s unrealistic and unwarranted critique, I provided a review of her comments here: http://update2012.com/Gelferanthology.pdf

        Please be apprised of my responses to the under-informed critics, who always do not even accurately summarize what my work is about nor address the evidence I bring to bear on my arguments. If we were to believe NASA 2012 spokesman David Morrison, for example, the galactic alignment is not even real astronomy. Tell that to astronomers Jean Meeus and Patrick Wallace who calculated it, and who I cited in my 2002 book called Galactic Alignment. There’s been evidence for an awareness of this solstice alignment with the cross of the Milky Way and ecliptic for some time, at Izapa and on Tortuguero Monument 6. I presented this and defended this in my 2010 SAA presentation (a by-invitation-only academic venue) and in the MEC-FACEBOOK debate sponsored by the Maya Exploration Center in late 2010 (here: http://www.thecenterfor2012studies.com/MEC-Facebook-Discussion-2010-ON-Jenkins-SAA-TRT-Astronomy.pdf).

        I realize it’s difficult to pierce through all the 2012 disinformation in the marketplace; that’s partially what my endless, thankless, and underpaid, work is about. You can read the clarifying details in my 2009 book called The 2012 Story.

        And now, to return to the La Corona monument, an analysis of the astronomy on the date of that monument, and Yuknoom Yich’aak’s strategy, is very suggestive of his astronomical strategies which indeed parallel the “literary device” used by Lord Jaguar at Toruguero.

        Ray, your “galactic alignment” phrase is a good one to describe the astronomical alignment. James Roylance used it to describe the astronomy. It can also be referred to in different ways — the “solstice-galaxy alignment” for example. It is important to separate the astronomy, which does not assume causal effects, from an astrological interpretation of what the alignment may mean, as that can cover a large spectrum of ideas and interpretations. We can’t even assume that the Maya ascribed to it “astrological” meaning. Rather, in their non-dual view of the world they would have integrated the astronomy with ritual, ceremony and Creation Myth spirituality.

      • By astrology I mean a subjective awareness of a living connection to a living cosmos. It is not about meaning or interpretation. I recognize that many people have not had an astrological experience and so can not relate to what astrologers are going on an on about. Most astrologers are aware on the level of signs, planets, the Sun and Moon. Very few are aware on the level of the stars. Even fewer have had a “galactic” astrological experience. The Maya system is uniquely galactic compared to others and I see you and others have intuited this. Anthony Aveni and others have made it clear that they can not relate to a galactic level of consciousness. I was aware of the galactic alignment as it was happening and understood it as preparation for what was to come afterward. Simply stated, astrology is a map of inner states of consciousness and works on several layers. These inner spaces somehow are patterned the same as the outer cosmos. It is definately not about planetary influence or cause and effect. When astrology is viewed through modern physics as in quantum theory and the various string theories, we can approach a more modern attempt to understand the relationship between the inner cosmos and the outer cosmos.

  18. OK, I think this discussion has veered off topic enough. I request that further discussions of galaxies, astrologies, egos, etc., be taken elsewhere.

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