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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Agricultural Land Commission approves cannabis facility in Beaver Creek

Proposed facility outside Port Alberni had been caught up in ALR red tape

Alberni writer and poet to read at Words on Fire

Chelsea Comeau has her own freelance writing and editing business

North Island College hosting nursing info session

Info sessions will take place Monday, Jan. 27 at Port Alberni and Campbell River campuses

Photographer captures Port Alberni personalities in black and white portraits

Meet John Douglas, Courtney Naesgaard in double exhibit Jan. 18 at Rollin Art Centre

Alberni Valley Community Foundation opens grant application process for 2020

Nearly $30K available for Port Alberni-based charities

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Power lines cut as thieves strike Vancouver Island veterinary hospital

‘Thankfully there weren’t any animals or staff in the clinic when this happened’

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Nanaimo mom will celebrate 40th in style after $500,000 lotto win

Crystal Giesbrecht matches all four numbers on BC/49 Extra

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

Most Read