Central America

250 B.C. - 900 A.D.

Of all the ancient cultures of the Americas, no civilization has held more intrigue and secrets for so long as that of the Mayans.  In 1960, their language code of glyphs was finally deciphered and forever changed our view of what we initially thought was a peaceful and harmonious society.  On the contrary, the Mayan Culture of the latter years was bathed in the blood of vicious warfare and astounding levels of human sacrifice.  Their technology was so advanced it is no wonder many believe they received intelligence from extra-terrestrials.  Despite our recent discoveries of Mayan mathematics, astronomy and calendar technology, the Mayans still leave us with many mysteries.  Their love of war caused them to manufacture spectacular weapons with inherent beauty and artistry.  Their ceramics depict a fascinating culture of status, sacrifice and deep religious devotion to a number of strange gods.

This is a beautifully knapped, uncommon Mayan obsidian drilled gorget pendant.  Remarkably, despite its delicate nature, it has not been broken as most are in antiquity.  It has a tiny portion missing on one end but the debris in the cracks show this happened in ancient times.  The workmanship and skill required to knap a piece like this must have required nerves of steel because a thin sheet flake would have been needed to start and then careful flaking all around the perimeter without breaking this thin flake to form the crescent bow shape.  If that was successfully completed, an even more difficult task of piercing both ends without breaking the piece was needed.  This seems nearly impossible to have done because the thinnest part of the gorget is on these ends.  See photos above.  This is a rare form and due to its fragile design, seldom are these found unbroken.  A great piece to display examples of Mayan body adornment and jewelry.  See this page for similar examples.  Includes our written unconditional lifetime certificate of GUARANTEED AUTHENTICITY.

WARNING:  There is an ALARMING number of fake ancient artifacts on the market.  As fine quality intact, original specimens become more scarce and techniques have become more sophisticated to fake these artifacts.  We have personally handled numerous extremely well-done fakes with convincing patinas that could fool most people.  The degree to which the fakers have been able to replicate patina to disguise their work requires an expert examination by highly experienced individuals.  Like all rare collectibles, fakes plague the market. 

Paleo Direct subjects every piece we offer to a full analysis, cleaning and conservation process in our on-site lab.  How many dealers do this or have any experience in operating their own lab?  The procedures we put each piece through are the same as we do for those specimens destined for museums and the same procedures as the best museums perform on their own collections.  Deal only with sources that are extremely knowledgeable in forgeries or altered pieces and get a written guarantee of authenticity that has no conditions or expiration period.  Paleo Direct includes this guarantee in writing with every item we sell.  All purchases should include from the dealer a written guarantee of authenticity with unconditional and lifetime return policies regarding such guarantee. 

Our understanding of the fascinating MAYAN CULTURE was completely wrong and misinterpreted until as recent as the 1960, when major achievements were made in the deciphering of their glyph language.  Elaborately designed ceremonial cities lacking any obvious defenses initially led us to believe that the Mayans were a peaceful theocracy living in ideal harmony with their environment and each other.  We could not have been further from the truth.  Lowland city-states lived in constant warfare with one another and the thirst of their gods for human blood and sacrifice seemed impossible to satiate. 

Archaeologists divide the Mayan Culture into different periods - LATE PRE-CLASSIC / PROTO-CLASSIC (300 BC - 300 AD), EARLY CLASSIC (300 AD - 600 AD), LATE CLASSIC (600 AD - 830 AD), TERMINAL CLASSIC (830 AD - 950 AD).  The earliest days of the Maya date back to 2000 BC when small farming villages first appeared in the highlands and Pacific coastline of Guatemala.  Crops such as corn, squash and beans made up the staple of their diet and are believed to have been brought from previous migration through Mexico.  The Maya pottery styles were unique to the early Maya settlements, though.  By 1000 BC, villages sprang up in the lowland regions.  The Maya lived in the same locations for centuries and in a continuous state of architectural improvement and expansion leading up to the magnificent 'super-cities' we associate with them today.  By 300 AD. full-scale cities were being built with stone featuring massive plazas, temples and pyramids reaching 20 stories high.  

It is no wonder that some believe that extra-terrestrial beings brought their knowledge to the Maya.  By 300 AD, the first inscriptions suddenly appeared in Maya sites.  These early inscriptions were so beautiful it was as if the gods had delivered it to the Mayan themselves!  Forward to 600 years later and the inscriptions cease.  The first comprehensive writing system in Pre-Columbian America was invented by the Maya.  Among the mysteries of the Maya are their amazing understanding of astronomy along with the development of an accurate calendar and mathematical system.  Their number system was based on units of 20 and included a concept of 'zero'.  

The skills of the Mayan craft are exemplified in their stone and wood carvings, flaked stone objects, pottery and personal adornment.  Much of their art centers around their devotion to a religion that is both fascinating and gory.  Blood-letting rituals were the norm and many acts of war were motivated by the capture of vast numbers of their enemies for ritual human sacrifice that would run for days on end, forming lakes of blood and fat at the bases of their stone pyramids that defy architectural explanation. 

Perhaps a lesson for us today, recent scientific analysis of the demise of the highly advanced Mayan civilization now answers the biggest mystery of all - "What ever happened to the ancient Mayans?".  Long-term high population density (500 people per square mile - the highest in the world at the time) of unbelievable proportions put a strain on their agricultural system that was impossible to sustain.  The effects of nutritional deficiencies are evident in bone and tooth analysis on graves dating to the Late Classic Period.  It is most probable that starvation put unbearable sociopolitical stress on the society to either kill each other for food or die of hunger necessitated by the technological advancement of warfare and its escalation.


3.5" across straight line measurement, 5.25" long by the curve

$395     PC013     INCLUDES DISPLAY BOX     Actual Item - One Only



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