The World On My Doorstep

An ever-expanding postcard blog

Copan

on November 15, 2013

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Sent from the wonderful Mervin in Honduras I received this perfect card and man do I love it! For those of you who don’t know, Copan was a Maya site in use for about two thousand years right through prehistory, but the remains which you see in this image relate to the Classic Maya phase between the 5th and 9th centuries AD. Anyone who has been following my blog knows I am an avid student of the Maya and studied them in depth as part of my Archaeology degree. And for this reason, Copan is particularly close to my heart. My dissertation was about maize imagery in Maya art and it just so happens that Copan was the site responsible for a whole load of those – you can even see some in this stela shown in the card! But I won’t go on about that too much right now. I am, however, going to rattle on about this site for anyone who is interested. Before I do though, just wanted to point out that those are macaws on the left, Mervin tells me they are Honduras’s national bird and were sacred to the Maya – something I didn’t know! So, at it’s peak, it is estimated that approximately 20,000 people lived in Copan with a hinterland of at least 25,000 more. When you think of it in terms of a civilisation which didn’t require the wheel, it’s pretty impressive! The image on the top right also shows a ball court – where the famous Maya ‘ball-game’ was played – something often depicted in artwork, but the rules of which remain a mystery to archaeologists. The bottom right shows one of the many platforms at the site, built in the typical Maya fashion. Such a wonderful card! I absolutely love it! Can you tell?!

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