Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Copan: Mayan Ruins in Honduras

Copan Ball Court  

The ball court at Copan was remodeled several times. The rules of the game are unknown.

Copan is an ancient Mayan city, located in modern-day western Honduras. It was ruled by a dynasty of 16 kings between roughly A.D. 426 and 820.

The city’s ancient name may have been Oxwitik and its official emblem was in the shape of a bat. The city’s core covered only about 37 acres (150,000 square meters), and archaeological work shows that it was remodeled and rebuilt continuously over a period of 400 years. In its final form, it contained a great plaza to the north and a built-up “acropolis” to the south.

Located on the southeastern periphery of the Mayan world, the city was spared some of the warfare that ravaged its larger and more centrally located neighbors. Nevertheless, the kings of the city were depicted as warriors, and hostilities with the neighboring city of Quirigua led its unlucky 13th ruler, Waxaklahun Ubah K’awil, to be captured and sacrificed.

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