Planchón del Rey (San Diego Cliff Face), Petén, Guatemala

Corpus Volume 8 presents a single monument, an Early Classic period relief carving, three meters tall, high on a limestone escarpment that overlooks a major (though unrecorded) archaeological site about halfway along the paved highway connecting La Libertad and El Ceibo, Petén. The project was facilitated by the alcalde of the municipio of La Libertad, where I had photographed the Itzimte stelae in 2016 that constituted our Corpus Volume 7.

When I returned to La Libertad in April 2019, again with Bernie Mittelstaedt as my guide and co-worker, I brought two plaques showing the Itzimte stelae as gifts and tokens of appreciation to alcalde Benjamín Ipiña. These plaques were made of metalized material suitable for hanging outdoors. Mr. Ipiña then made phone calls for us that paved the way for us to photograph Planchón del Rey.

two men holding signage and shaking hands

-Bruce Love

Corpus Volume 8: Planchón del Rey (San Diego Cliff Face), Petén, Guatemala

The Lost Murals of San Bartolo

The Murals of San Bartolo rightly stand as one of the great archaeological discoveries of recent times, and thus, their discovery deserves further attention.

In 2002, a few months after the murals came to light, freelance journalist Cyril Mischler recorded the story as told to him by Peten guide and outfitter Bernhard “Bernie” Mittelstaedt, long-time petenero and guide for Ian Graham and David Stuart. Later that same year, author Mischler visited the murals with Bernie to see for himself, and in 2007 made another trip, at which time photos were taken for a 2010 article on the topic published in Overland Journal, a magazine dedicated to “worldwide vehicle-supported expedition and adventure travel.”

If this report is correct, Bernie Mittelstaedt and Mariano Catalan deserve to be recognized for discovering the San Bartolo Murals.

We publish a downloadable PDF of this article, with permission from Overland Journal, in order to make this information accessible to a readership in Mesoamerican studies that might not otherwise have known that this version of the story exists.

-Bruce Love and Meghan Rubenstein

Research Contribution 8: The Lost Murals of San Bartolo, Overland Journal, by Cyril Mischler

New Data from Santoton, Ocosingo, Chiapas, México

In our most recent post, we bring you a research contribution by Alejandro Sheseña and Ángel Sánchez Gamboa that offers fresh insight into the archaeological site of Santoton in the municipio of Ocosingo, Chiapas.

As a reminder, if you would like to be notified by email when we upload a new Corpus or Research Contribution, you can sign up in the right-hand menu under Follow Blog via Email (or at the bottom of the page if you are on a mobile device).

-Bruce Love and Meghan Rubenstein

Research Contribution 7: El Sitio Arqueológico de Santoton, Ocosingo, Chiapas, México. Nuevos Datos

The 260-day Calendar among Contemporary K’iche’

In September 2018, I attended a conference at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in which a graduate student from there presented a remarkably in-depth picture of contemporary use of the Cholq’ij, or 260-day calendar, among contemporary K’iche’ of Guatemala. I later received a copy of his UNAM Master’s thesis and was so impressed with its depth and erudition that I requested he allow us to publish it on our website, to which he generously agreed.

Iván Canek Estrada Peña’s thesis combines a century of ethnographic studies with his own findings from intensive fieldwork among the guías espirituales and day keepers of highland Guatemala to produce, in my opinion, the best work ever written on the subject.

-Bruce Love

Research Contribution 6: Traditions and Innovations around the 260-day Calendar among Contemporary K’iche’: the Case of the Day Imox

Palo Verde, Chimaltenango, Guatemala

Corpus Volume 6 combines photos by Bruce Love with drawings by Oswaldo Chinchilla of three stelae from the site of Palo Verde, located in the hinterlands of the Late Classic city of Cotzumalguapa, on the Pacific piedmont of Guatemala, an abrupt departure from Volumes 1-5 that were all from south-east Peten.

Presenting three stelae from the Cotzumalguapa archaeological zone demonstrates our dedication to bringing our readers inscriptions from throughout Mesoamerica, not only the Maya area. This volume takes advantage of a recent opportunity by Love to photograph in the Museo Nacional de Arqueología y Etnología (MUNAE) in Guatemala City. While working there at night on July 31 and August 2 and 3 of this year, Love photographed the three stelae from Palo Verde that are currently on display in the main courtyard of the museum.

Dr. Chinchilla has graciously allowed us to publish his drawings alongside the photos, along with a link to an important journal article* by him and colleagues that describes archaeological investigations at the site.

-Bruce Love and Meghan Rubenstein

*The journal article is made available here in compliance with JSTOR “Terms and Conditions of Use” (https://about.jstor.org/terms/).

Corpus Volume 6: Monuments from Palo Verde, Chimaltenango, in MUNAE, Guatemala City

Museo del Camino Real, Hecelchakan

Research Contribution 5 is dedicated to Karl Herbert Mayer, one of the great explorer-publishers of our time. Ever since I told him I photographed the monuments in the Hecelchakan museum in 2012 and 2013, he has been hounding me to publish them. At first I had no website to publish them on nor permission from INAH to publish them in hard copy, and then since starting this website, I declined to publish them because I had not yet made the drawings.

Now, sadly, our friend Karl’s health is declining and recently he once more urged me to publish the Hecelchakan monuments for the good of the field, an appeal I could not deny. Since our website’s corpus volumes are photos and drawings side by side, and because we do not yet have drawings of the Hecelchakan monuments, we are publishing this body of work as a Research Contribution rather than a Corpus Volume.

This is for you Karl, with immense appreciation for all you have done to move Mesoamerican studies forward.

-Bruce Love

Research Contribution 5: Monuments from Museo del Camino Real de Hecelchakan, Campeche, Mexico