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

FILOMI Days sees massive crowd arrive in town to enjoy weekend festivities

The North Island Gazette was at just about every event this weekend.

Rumble on the Runway returns to Port McNeill Airport

In fact, the event is so popular that officials say it is usually sold out months in advance.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Fireweed in full bloom

“This year is shaping up to be a good year for fireweed.”

Tahsis Inlet voted BC’S top boating destination for 2019

Tahsis Inlet is located midway up the west coast of Vancouver Island

Oceanfront RV campground in Port Alice is open for business

Anstee plans to have other amenities besides camping, “but for now, this is it.”

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

Vancouver Island teacher suspended for professional misconduct

Grade 8 shop teacher admits to use of vulgar language and profanities toward students, parents

Northern B.C. double homicide, suspicious death: A timeline of what we know

Two teens from Port Alberni are now wanted Canada-wide in connection to the three deaths

B.C. wine industry legend Harry McWatters dies

Among his accomplishments, McWatters founded the province’s first estate winery, Sumac Ridge Estate

Provincial health body refuses to release full findings of cancer triage system audit

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions

Southern resident killer whale died of blunt trauma, likely from ship

J34 was found more than two years ago near Sechelt, but the necropsy findings have now been released

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Vancouver Island man wanted after walking away from halfway house in Victoria

Warrant issued for Jesse Goodale, convicted of aggravated assault

Most Read