Published: July 17, 2013
The monument, named El Perú Stela 44, is profusely carved with rows of hieroglyphs on each side and a now eroded image of a king on the front.
The text reveals that the stela was dedicated on January 25, AD 564, during a ‘dark age’ period of the site’s history known as the Hiatus when it was previously thought that no monuments were being carved at the site. It tells about a little-known princess whose progeny prevailed in a bloody, back-and-forth struggle between two of the civilization’s most powerful royal dynasties.
“Great rulers took pleasure in describing adversity as a prelude to ultimate success. Here the Snake queen, Lady Ikoom, prevailed in the end,” said research director Prof David Freidel from Washington University in St. Louis.
Prof Freidel said that El Perú Stela 44 offers a wealth of new information about a ‘dark period’ in Maya history, including the names of two previously unknown Maya rulers and the political realities that shaped their legacies.
“The narrative of Stela 44 is full of twists and turns of the kind that are usually found in time of war but rarely detected in Precolumbian archaeology. The information in the text provides a new chapter in the history of the ancient kingdom of Waka’ and its political relations with the most powerful kingdoms in the Classic period lowland Maya world.”