During a brief visit to the local museum at Tonina a few years ago, I noticed this interesting stucco glyph among the many displayed in the glass case. One can see it’s a conventional ‘K’atun’ with a 3 or 4 number coefficient, but the prefix is what caught my eye. The initial sign clearly represents a strand of hair passing through a carved tubular bead, just as depicted in a few portraits (see Tikal Stela 31). This presumably is an U- variant, slightly more elaborate that a common U form that shows only the skeletal bead. As John Justeson pointed out many years ago, the latter sign surely derives from the widespread Mayan words for “bead” (also “necklace”): *uuh (proto-Mayan), later appearing in Yukatekan and Ch’olan as u, uh or uj.
Here’s an old drawing I did of an obscure inscribed celt, from a murky photo published long ago by Heinrich Berlin. The original reference is:
1955 News From the Maya World. Ethnos 20(4):201-209.
Berlin noted its provenience simply as from the “Michol River,” not too far from Palenque.
The most interesting aspects of the inscription are the odd chevron arrangement of the glyphs, as well as the final possessed noun, simply reading “his celt” (U-LEEM?). I will soon be posting some thoughts on the possible LEM or LEEM phonetic reading of the “celt” sign.
Hi everyone. This weblog is concerned with the dissemination and discussion of ideas on Maya hieroglyphic decipherment. As I write this and learn the ways of blogging, it’s impossible to know if the format will work the way I would like it to, so for now experimentation is the name of the game. I plan to routinely post ideas and observations on epigraphy and related topics, and invite colleagues from the world of Mesoamerican studies to provide feedback. Some of the ideas I will be sharing are certainly from “the archives,” maybe even scribbles from my notebooks of a decade or more ago, but it’s high time to get it all out there, even when they now seem old and half-baked.
My posts will be intermittent, maybe even infrequent at times, but I’m determined to keep this up as time permits. I also very much hope that colleagues will want to chime-in with their own posts, giving Maya Decipherment a life of its own as a compelling forum for discussing and sharing advances in the field.