Mortal Football: Archaeologists Unearth Mayan Stone Scoreboard for Deadly Pelota Game

© Photo : YoutubeAncient Mayan Stone Tablet (Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology video screenshot)
Ancient Mayan Stone Tablet (Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology video screenshot) - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.04.2023
The Maya played "pelota" - a football-like game - for fun, allegedly, as a way to resolve social conflicts. The game was quite dangerous and the winners were sometimes sacrificed to gods, but this was the best alternative to full-scale conflict that Mayan society could offer.
Archaeologists discovered an ancient stone tablet in the Mayan site Chichen Itza, which dates from between 800 AD and 900 AD. Scientists believe that this relic is a scoreboard for an ancient soccer-like ball game known as "pelota."
Historians are excited with the finding since such artefacts are quiet uncommon.
"In this Maya site, it is rare to find hieroglyphic writing, let alone a complete text," reportedly stated Francisco Perez, one of archaeologists.
Archaeologists carefully an unearth ancient stone table.
There are two figures on the ancient tablet, one is wearing a feather headdress, and another one is decorated with a "snake turban," which implies his high status in Mayan society. Also there are hieroglyphic inscriptions on the outer edge.
Not much is known about the game - some historians allege that it resembles modern volleyball rather that football.
There is a certain level of confidence that this game was associated with human sacrifices: scholars believe that the captain of victorious team was sometimes decapitated and offered to gods. There are even speculations that the skulls of be-headed champions were used as balls, but most historians dismiss them.
It is also alleged that the game had a deep religious connotations – the ball symbolized the movement of the sun over the horizon.
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