Wintersemester 22/23: In the Realm of Aj K’an Maax: Reconstructing the History of a Classic Maya Site from its Inscriptions


Marie Bozet
(Universität Bonn)

El Chorro is a Maya site located in the extreme west of the Petén department of Guatemala, and slightly south. The most famous ruler of El Chorro is Aj K’an Maax, who acceded to the throne on May 7, 743 CE. Under his rule, El Chorro was involved in several military conflicts with other sites in the region. He is also the ruler with the most monuments built and the most prestigious titles.

Although Eric von Euw had described and preliminarily documented El Chorro as part of the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions project as early as the 1980s, no extensive evaluation of the inscriptions has taken place to date. In September 2021 and March 2022, I was able to visit the site, and, with the help of a small team consisting of Prof. Dr. Nikolai Grube and Alejandro Garay (University of Bonn), as well as Guatemalan archaeologist Omar Schwendener, re-document all of the remaining monuments. Despite the already existing preliminary field drawings by Eric von Euw, the new night photographs taken during our second visit allowed me to identify many new details that change the understanding of the inscriptions in question.

To date, a considerable number of monuments with inscriptions are known, including eight altars, twelve stelae, three miscellaneous monuments, and several blocks of two or three different hieroglyphic stairways. The earliest monument at the site that can be dated with certainty was dedicated in (677 CE), but a possible reference to Yaxuun Bahlam III of Yaxchilan on a looted hieroglyphic stairway block may indicate that El Chorro was active several decades earlier already. So far, no evidence of Early Classic activity has been found, but it must be kept in mind, that no archaeological investigation has ever taken place, which makes it impossible to answer the question of the beginning of the settlement of El Chorro. The last known monument that can be dated with certainty was dedicated in (771 CE), but another possible candidate may have a dedication date of (780 CE). Since most other sites in the region (especially in the Petexbatun) fall silent around 800 CE, it can be assumed that the same might be true for El Chorro. This results in a known period of epigraphic and political activity at El Chorro between < 677 – 780 CE <.

This talk will present the results of my research on the known corpus of inscribed monuments from El Chorro. Using new drawings, I will give a brief overview of the history of the site, as well as introduce the major actors in the inscriptions. Contacts with other sites and interesting epigraphic features will be shown as well.

Der Vortrag findet am Montag, dem 07.11.2022 um 18 Uhr c.t. im Großen Übungsraum im 1. OG der Abteilung in der Oxfordstr. 15 statt. Wir bitten Sie, als Teilnehmende, während der Veranstaltung im Gebäude und Vorlesungssaal eine Maske zu tragen.

Weitere Informationen zu allen zukünftigen Veranstaltungen finden Sie auf unserer Website im Plan der Ringvorlesung. Für eine hybride Teilnahme an dem Vortrag melden Sie sich bitte einmalig bei an, dann lassen wir Ihnen den Zoom-Link für die Ringvorlesung zukommen.