Saturday Art and Archaeology: Rastrojón, Mountainside of Copán

Main facade Sculpture 10 at Rastrojón

Near the central Mayan archaeological site Copán lies an adjunct royal creation and occasional center, Rastrojón, skillfully carved indicating it was executed by the reigning family. It has been excavated recently, and with techniques only beginning to be used to extract all the characteristics that show the origins of the ancient arts and building activities there.

Growing knowledge and increasing technological methods for excavations has been a boon to the study of ancient Mayan culture, and our emerging understanding of what we are finding now. And in the Rastrojón excavation we one can see the benefits of our increased capabilities.

Rastrojón is the name with which the locals have recognized over the past 50 years the area located 2km northeast of the Principal Group of Copan Ruins Archaeological Park. The Maya built here two monumental residential architectural groups, one of which has been ongoing for the past 7 years (2007-2013).

Excavations revealed dramatic architectural Found collapses earlier in the Copan Valley. Geomorphological studies confirmed the presence at the site of a fault with pronounced depressions. This natural phenomenon of great importance in the religious thought of the Maya in general, with the eyes or water births attracted Mayas Copan to this place. However, the very nature of the place made of stone hill an unstable place to build heavy masonry buildings. Obviously the Mayans were not aware of the gradual movement of the earth and the consequences of building on unstable ground.

Buildings with its vaulted rooms constructed entirely of cut stone blocks, equipped with benches plastered and decorated with fine sculpture in its external, Rastrojón indicate that it was occupied by a group of people of the nobility of society Copan. Although the era of monumental sculptural buildings dating from approxRastrojón 700 AD, the area was occupied long before the establishment of the dynasty YaxK’inichK’uk ‘Mo’ in 425 AD, and much later, after the collapse 822d.C .. That makes this place one site in the Copan Valley.

The quality of the carving Rastrojón joined the iconographic themes represented in each site buildings also makes a special place. One building (Structure 10), probably a palace, presented the most striking sculptures program outside the Royal Enclosure or Main Ruins Group. The style of the sculptures of the same quality as Copan Stela implies that it was commissioned by one of the most prominent in art, probably in the reign of the 13th ruler (695-738 AD) governors. The central image of the sculptural program is a supernatural feline (Koj) cross kan elements in your ear (Kan), who apparently gave his name to the hill (Witz) -kanKojWitz. From the jaws of the lion representing the hill, leaving the image of a real person. This character was sculpted with the attributes of a warrior and symbols that recall the 12th ruler of Copan dynasty. On each side of the door of the main facade image of a puma supernatural smaller than the previous guarding the entrance to the building was imposed.

What has been preserved by the remoteness of the region is a capsule from a culture that dominated this area, lived well and profligately off the fecund region, and then disappeared or changed drastically at about 1000 A.D.

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