The circular piece, measuring just over 32 centimeters (12.6 inches) in diameter and weighing 40 kilograms (88 pounds), displays hieroglyphic writing surrounding two players standing next to a ball, according to a statement from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).
“In this Mayan site, it is rare to find hieroglyphic writing, let alone a complete text,” said Francisco Perez, one of the archaeologists coordinating the investigations in the Chichanchob complex, also called Casa Colorada.
The stone, believed to be a scoreboard, dates from between 800 AD and 900 AD.
Journalists take photos and videos of the Mayan scoreboard. Credit: Lorenzo Hernandez/Reuters
The ball game was a traditional practice of Mesoamerican peoples and is believed to have had ritual undertones.
INAH researchers are now preparing to take high-resolution images of the text and iconography for detailed study, while preparing it for conservation.
The Chichen Itza complex, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, is one of the main archaeological centers of the Mayan civilization in the Yucatan Peninsula. According to official data, about 2 million people visit the site every year.