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Archaeologists find two 1,300 year-old stone sculptures that confirm an alliance between the ancient Mayan cities of Copan and Palenque against Tonina.
Hieroglyphic inscriptions found on the sculptures refer to Mayan dominion over what is today known as Honduras. Let's find out more.
The findings confirm an alliance between the rulers of the archaeological site of Copan in Honduras and Palenque in Mexico. Between the late 7th century to the early 8th century, a war broke out between the Palenque against Tonina during 26 years, for control of the Usumacinta river and other smaller rivers.
They also shed light on the battles sustained by Tonina more than 1,000 years ago. In the 90s, archaeologists found six decorative elements, but due to the poor conditions they were found in, it was unable to learn more about Tonina's Mayan civilization.
The discovery of the two prisoners from Copan is physical evidence confirming Copan's alliance with Palenque, to fight against Tonina.
Doctor Juan Yadeun, in charge of the Tonina Archeological project said both sculptures have hieroglyphic inscriptions on their chest and loincloth.
Dr. Juan Yadeun said, "It's an important (finding) due to the amount of aspects. Firstly, because they are two prisoners from Coban, Honduras, which is 420 kilometers away from here. It tells us that the Mayan empire - both in commercial and military relations - covered giant areas. We also know Tonina had all reigns under occupation from Bonampak to Ponana in Tabasco, so they had completely isolated Palenque from the other three great cities of the Mayan world."
Yadeun said Mayas from ancient Mexico believed the temples had a life of their own and were "born" when they were inaugurated. That is why Mayas used to spill blood during a ceremony to simulate a birth. That is why these prisoners from Copan were possibly used during an inaugural ritual for the second stage of the ball game court to give "life" to the structure.
The Maya built soaring temples and elaborate palaces in Central America and southern Mexico, dominating the region for some 2,000 years, before mysteriously abandoning their cities around 900 AD.