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Mexico's Anthropology Specialists Identify Name of Maya Ruler
The ancient city of Tonina. Photo: DMC INAH. H. MONTANO.

MEXICO CITY.- The name of a Maya ruler that did not appear in the dynastic line of the ancient city of Tonina was recently identified by specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) based on hieroglyphs found on a sculptural fragment. This is the fourteenth ruler registered in the city that was enemy of Palenque.

Epigraphist Carlos Pallan Gayol, director of the INAH Maya Hieroglyphic and Iconographic Heap (AJIMAYA) explained that the fragment of stone contains inscriptions that read the name K’awiil, seignior of Po’, as the ancient city of Tonina was originally denominated, word that may mean “white” in the ancient Zoque-Mixteca language.

Recent monument research and registration work at Tonina Archaeological Zone, Chiapas, allowed detecting the name (partially damaged) of a ruler that has as main emblem the head of the lightning deity, named K’awiil, followed by another sign that could be similar to the one of a storm deity named Yopaat.

Pallan Gayol mentioned that the high rank of this character is inferred by the emblem he carries, with the title of Divine Lord of Po’ used exclusively by rulers. It may correspond to a male individual, different from the names of 3 ladies previously identified as Ix Winik Timak K’awiil, mother of the ninth ruler of Tonina; Ix Muyal Chan K’awii, a foreigner, and Ix K’awiil Kaan, who apparently governed the site in 722 AD.

Pallan, in coordination with Juan Yadeun, director of Tonina Archaeological Project, has been able to reconstruct the dynastic line of the ancient Maya city, parting from the study of inscriptions. “After adding up the glyph name of K’awiil, the list would rise to 14 possible lords, all of them associated with the title “Divine Lord of Po’”, whose power periods comprise 4 centuries, from 501 to 909 AD, approximately”.

Pallan declared that in such list high-rank priests that played a significant political role are also included, as Aj Ch’aaj Naah and Kelen Hix, who effectively assumed the control of Tonina in difficult times of history, as the period after Palenque defeat it in 687 of the Common Era.

Tonina Lords Mentioned in Inscriptions:

• Nicknamed “Reptile Head”, he ruled near 514 AD: Apparently the name of a bird (Kohkaj?) is combined.

• K’inich? Sawan B’ahlam Yaxuun Tihl, nicknamed “Sotz’ Choj”, ruled near 568 AD.

• Chak B’alu’n Chaahk, died near 589 AD.

• K’inich B’ahlam Chapaht, ruled since 615 AD and was contemporary of K’inich Janaahb’ Pakal, the famous Palenque lord.

• Yuhkno’m? Wahywal? , defeated and probably sacrificed by Palenque in 687 AD.

• K’inich B’aaknal Chaak, the most powerful lord of Tonina, was enthroned in 688 AD. He defeated Palenque and its allies in at least 3 military campaigns.

• K’inich Chuwaaj? K’ahk’ used the title of “Young Prince” since he was enthroned at the age of 2, in 708 AD. His army defeated Palenque in 711 AD and captured its lord Joy Chitam II.

• Lady K’awiil Kaan, died in 722 AD.

• K’inich Yich’aak Chapaht, nicknamed “Centipede Claw”, ruled over Tonina from 723 until at least 739 AD.

• Kawiil Yopaat? It is not easy to locate yet the new ruler in the dynastic sequence of Tonina, because dates when he ruled are not known, although it could have been between 739 and 762 AD.

• K’inich Tuun Chapaht governed near 762 AD. Under his command, Palenque was defeated again.

• K’inich ¿? Chapaht, ruled nearly 787 AD.

• K’inich Uh Chapaht, was lord near 837 AD.

• A lord of unknown name was enthroned between 901 and 909 AD.

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