La Corona Altar 5 was removed from its crate at the Royal BC Museum ahead of the upcoming Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises exhibition. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

VIDEO: Royal BC Museum unveils rare artifact in upcoming Maya exhibit

La Corona Altar 5 depicts story of king and dynasties

As the Royal BC Museum prepares for another exhibition that will take visitors back in time, artifacts are slowly being unveiled.

On Thursday, the museum removed a rare artifact from its crate for the upcoming Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises exhibition.

The artifact — La Corona Altar 5 — is from the year 544 CE and was discovered in the jungle in the northern part of Guatemala, 700 kilometres away from cities.

Hieroglyphic text on the altar tells the story of a king, Chak Tok Ich’aak, who led the fight against the Tikal Dynasty, allowing the Kaanul Dynasty to become the new leaders.

Later on, Chak Tok Ick’aak goes on to become a very well-known, powerful leader.

According to the director of the National Museum of Guatemala, Daniel Eduardo Aquino Lara, the altar helps piece together and confirm significant research around the La Corona archaeological site.

READ MORE: Victoria museum’s Maya exhibition stars rare artifacts never seen outside of Guatemala

“We have something relevant to construct the nation’s history of Guatemala,” Lara said. “It confirmed how complex Mayan society was in the past.”

Lara said the hieroglyphics on the altar also show how different communities and aspects of Mayan society came together for a larger goal — not unlike today, where smaller and larger powers form alliances.

“In the beginning of the 20th century many archaeologists thought the ancient Maya just prayed and celebrated ceremonies,” Lara said. “Now we know they were a very complex society, they had a very stratified society as well and had a lot of changes during the time.”

The altar depicts an image of Chak Tok Ich’aak carrying a scepter with a double-headed snake and two deities who protect the local La Corona dynasty.

A team of archaeologists from Guatemala and the USA uncovered the altar when researching and investigating a pyramid structure that was buried under earth and trees in 2017 and 2018.

The altar was found two years ago inside the pyramid structure and has now travelled to Victoria for Canadians and tourists to see.

READ ALSO: One Victoria family contributed 20 per cent of Royal BC Museum’s collection

“In this case, the monuments don’t change history but give us more elements to understand details about relationships, how the politics were and what was going on in the Late Classic period 13 to 15 centuries ago,” Lara said. “For Guatemala, it’s an opportunity to share the relevant history and how centuries of research and preserving our cultural heritage can be shared with people.”

Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises runs at the Royal BC Museum from May 17 to Dec. 31. It spotlights the mystery, legacy and resilience of one of the world’s great civilizations, the Maya of Central America.

The exhibition boasts the world’s largest and most impressive display of Maya objects including jade, ceramic, gold, stone and textile artifacts never before seen outside of Guatemala.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Cheque presented to YANA after most successful Valley Vonka ever

You Are Not Alone (YANA) staff received a shocking surprise when presented… Continue reading

Comox Valley Airport launches Island Good brand

YQQ focuses on providing local products to airport travellers

Royston scratchboard artist wins international award

Sharon Lennox honoured at International Society of Scratchboard Artists’ Eighth Annual Exhibition

Record article sparks return of stolen tonals

Letter writer expressed remorse after reading article describing personal connection to items

Courtenay council denies cannabis retailer application

Adjacent businesses strongly opposed storefront proposal

Trudeau touts economic record at Liberal fundraiser in Vancouver

The Prime Minister was in B.C. for much of this week

MP introduces Zero Waste Packaging Act

An idea from a Terrace man inspired an MP from Northern B.C.… Continue reading

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana growing ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Cystic Fibrosis Walk Sunday in Campbell River

Help make CF history, for Maysa’s sake

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Most Read