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Two Classic Maya ballplayer panels from Tipan Chen Uitz, Belize

  • Christopher R. Andres (a1), Christophe Helmke (a2), Shawn G. Morton (a3) and Gabriel D. Wrobel (a1)

Recent archaeological investigations at Tipan Chen Uitz, Belize, yielded two remarkable Classic Maya ballplayer panels. Iconographic and glyphic analysis of these panels within a regional context provides new insights into large-scale socio-political relationships, demonstrating that the ballgame was an important means and mechanism for macro-political affiliation in the Maya Lowlands. The panels suggest that Tipan was part of a wider system of vassalage that tied it to other Maya centres, including Naranjo, a regional capital under the dominion of Calakmul where the Snake-Head dynasty held sway. The data presented here underpin a more general discussion of archaeological approaches to ancient interaction spheres.

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