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Scientists Finally Confirmed The Authenticity Of The Oldest Book Mayan Book Ever Discovered

CREDIT: RT AMERICA / YOUTUBE

For years, scientists weren’t sure whether the Grolier Codex, a 600-year-old book supposedly written by the Mayans, was real or a very detailed fake. When the Spanish came to America, they thoroughly destroyed the Mayans’ written works, making it easier for Europeans to spread their religion and culture in the New World. As a result, pre-Columbian Mayan writings are exceedingly rare. So when this particular codex was discovered in the 1960s, researchers had several reasons to doubt its authenticity.

If real, the Grolier Codex would be the oldest surviving book in the new world, and only the fourth surviving pre-Columbian Mayan work ever discovered.

CREDIT: NEW YORK TIMES / ACADEMIA

The book surfaced when “pothunters,” looters who sold antiquities for profit, sold it to Dr. Josué Sáenz in 1965. Because it was “discovered” by looters, researchers were doubtful that the book was legitimate, but they kept it safe so they could do the proper research. After many years of scrutiny and doubt, advancements in dating technology made it possible for researchers to prove the validity of the book. In late 2015, scientists were finally able to put their money where their mouth was.

Researchers put the book’s creation at 1230, C.E., meaning the Grolier Codex is well over 700 years old.

CREDIT: ELECTRIC SCIENCE NEWS / YOUTUBE

Before modern radiocarbon dating techniques, researchers only had a few clues pointing in the direction of the Grolier Codex’s authenticity. The materials and pigment used to create the prints suggested it was real, but a good forger could easily replicate these things. And when you consider the Grolier Codex’s dubious discovery (looters found it in a cave near Tortuguero), anything less than a rigorous scientific confirmation would lead researchers to doubt. Though some debate still exists around the document’s validity, historical heavyweight Smithsonian has endorsed the document after the latest round of testing.

So what is the Grolier Codex?

CREDIT: ELECTRIC SCIENCE NEWS / YOUTUBE

The document was named after the venue where it was first displayed: the Grolier Club in New York. The 11-page artifact offered a glimpse into how much astrology affected Maya religion. As Dr. Michael D. Coe told the New York Times in 1971, “The Codex shows us for the first time that the Mayas considered all four phases of the Venus cycle to be equally malevolent and threatening to human welfare.” Thanks to the efforts of the scientific community, scientists have finally given back some of the history that was so violently taken from Mayan culture.


READ: Scientists Just Discovered 500-Year-Old Mexican Manuscript

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Mexico City Celebrates Its 500th Birthday Amid A Pandemic And Mounting Violence

Culture

Mexico City Celebrates Its 500th Birthday Amid A Pandemic And Mounting Violence

Most of us are looking to 2021 with optimism, but for Mexico, this upcoming year won’t just be about saying goodbye to 2020. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) says 2021 will be the “year of independence and greatness” for Mexico, celebrating not only 500 years since the founding of Mexico City, but also 200 years since Mexico achieved its independence from Spain.

As Mexico City turns 500, the city faces many challenges and reasons to celebrate.

Pretty much the entire world was waiting for 2021 to arrive, so that we could all say adiós to 2020. But few places were as eager to welcome 2021 as Mexico was.

You see, it was in 1321 that the ancient city of Tenochtitlan (modern day Mexico City) was founded by the Aztecas, in 1521 the city was conquered and rebuilt by Spanish conquistadors, and in 1821 the nation gained independence from Spain. So you can see why 2021 is such a major year for Mexico.

President AMLO presented a plan to commemorate two centuries of Mexico’s Independence, the 700th anniversary of the founding of Mexico-Tenochtitlan and the 500th anniversary of the fall of the city that became the country’s capital city.

“Next year is the year of the Independence and the greatness of Mexico,” the president said, joined by Mexico City Head of Government Claudia Sheinbaum. In a detailed report on the year’s celebrations, IMSS head Zoé Robledo pointed out that the whole program includes 12 national events including tributes to national heroes, commemoration of relevant dates, exhibitions, parades and the traditional Independence celebration known as El Grito. Other events and celebrations are also expected in 65 cities across 32 states, starting on Feb. 14 in Oaxaca and ending on Sept. 30 in Michoacán.

The nation’s capital has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and faces other serious challenges.

Like many major cities, Mexico City has been severely impacted by the pandemic. It’s the epicenter of the health crisis in Mexico with more than 500,000 confirmed cases and nearly 25,000 deaths. In recent weeks, hospital occupancy has surpassed 90% meaning there’s little to no room for people to be treated. Meanwhile, the government has come under fire for a lack of any economic security to those who have been forced to go without work as the city of more than 20 million people was placed under lockdown. 

In addition to the health crisis, a growing issue of cartel violence has plagued parts of the capitol – a city once thought immune to the cartel wars that rage in other corners of the country. In 2020, violence in the capital broke records with brazen attacks on elected officials and bloody turf wars between long standing gangs and the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación.

But the city also has many reasons to be optimistic in 2021.

Mexico City remains the epicenter of progressivism in the country and that can be seen in the many policies put forward in recent months. With a focus on protecting women’s safety and health and empowering the LGBTQ community, Mexico City is emerging as a safe space for some of the country’s most maligned citizens. 

The city is also undergoing a rapid transformation to a greener society with bans on single-use plastics and a move towards greener policies. From the city’s southern districts to its historical center, the city is also seeing major beautification works to help increase its draw to international tourists – of whom the city has come to rely on for the much needed tourist dollar.

“2021 will be a remarkable year for the city — a city that welcomes all and provides a home for people of all ages and nationalities, which has resulted in a unique cultural hybrid,” says Paulina Feltrin, director of marketing and communications at The St. Regis Mexico City. “I hope this becomes another reason for international and domestic travelers to come celebrate with us.”

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Archaeologists Have Discovered A Mayan Mask As Tall As A Person, But Here’s Why They’ve Already Buried It

Culture

Archaeologists Have Discovered A Mayan Mask As Tall As A Person, But Here’s Why They’ve Already Buried It

In the southeastern Mexican state of Yucatán on the Yucatán Peninsula, an archaeological team digging at a lightly explored site near the tiny, picturesque village of Ucanha uncovered something highly unusual. It was a giant human-looking face, as tall as a person and sculpted in stucco. Its features clearly identified it as a Mayan mask of the ancient Maya civilization, which enjoyed total hegemony in this part of the world more than one thousand years ago.

But this new discovery won’t be put on display for the world to see and here’s why.

A giant Mayan mask as tall as a person has been revealed in the Yucatán.

The mask, which depicts the face of an unknown deity or elite person, was sculpted from the building material stucco and dates back to a period in history known as the Late Preclassic (about 300 B.C. — A.D. 250), according to the news outlet Novedades Yucatán.

The discovery was made in 2017 at the archaeological site of Ucanha, near the modern-day city of Motul, and since then researchers with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have worked painstakingly to restore it.

In their statement announcing the finding , INAH stated that sculptures like these “represent the faces of individuals with particular features that can be associated with deities or with characters of prominent social status.” It was a common practice in Maya civilization to decorate buildings with large-scale, embedded decorative sculptures, which often featured the faces of rulers or gods.

The team of researches have worked to restore the giant mask and protect it from the elements.

Credit: National Institute of Anthropology and History

The mask is a stucco relief, a type of brightly-colored painted sculpture carved from a background of stucco. The Maya typically placed these masks around stairways with pyramidal bases, according to the statement. Archaeologists have found similar reliefs in Acanceh and Izamal, but this is the first in Ucanha. The discovery is part of ongoing research into Mayan mounds found at the site. 

During the restoration and conservation process, archaeologists reinforced fragile parts of the mask. They also moved sections that had been displaced over time back to their original positions. They also cleaned the surfaces to highlight the mask’s patterns and colors.

Since being restored, the mask has been reburied for its own protection.

The mask was temporarily reburied after its discovery so that the structure was protected until it could be properly studied and preserved. Samples taken from the structure revealed deterioration and it was re-excavated in 2018 so that archaeologists could restore it. 

The archaeologists completed the work in 2019, before reburying the mask for a final time. INAH said the goal of these efforts is to ensure the long-term preservation of the mask at the site, which does not have legal protection.

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