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Turquoise Mosaic Plaque from Chichen Itza

Nature volume 130, page 396 (10 September 1932) | Download Citation



A MOSAIC plaque of turquoise and jade, it is announced by Science Service, of Washington, D.C., has been discovered under the Castillo mound, in the ruined city of Chichen Itza, Yucatan. This announcement recalls the discovery, also at Chichen Itza, of a similar plaque—one of the most remarkable objects of the art of the ancient Mayas ever found—which was made in 1928 by an expedition sent out by the Carnegie Institution of Washington. This plaque was made of turquoise mosaic on a foundation of wood, which had perished. The services of a museum expert were requisitioned from New York for its removal. The operation of salvage, which necessitated the improvisation of a special technique on the spot, took three months to complete. The plaque was exhibited for the first time at the International Congress of Americanists which met in New York in September 1928. The plaque which has recently been found is described as a mosaic of turquoise and jade, and, like the preceding find, is on a foundation of wood, now decomposed. It lies in a stone box under a number of fragile articles not yet removed. The tomb under the mound appears to be a secondary burial, and turquoise spearheads may indicate that the occupant was a warrior.

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