Mayan ‘megajewel’ that once belonged to a king

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient jade pendent that was once worn on the chest of a Maya king.

The pendent discovered in Nim Li Punit is the second largest Maya jade found in Belize, and dates back to AD 672.

The remarkable artifact is shaped in a way that signifies ‘wind and breath,’ and was found alongside a vessel with a beaked face thought to depict a Maya god of wind.

The jewel is the only one known to be inscribed with a historical text, with 30 hieroglyphs describing its first owner carved into the back. ‘It literally speaks to us,’ Braswell said. ‘The story it tells is a short but important one’


The pendent was discovered in Nim Li Punit, a site in southern Belize that sits in the Toledo District.

The site is on a ridge of the Maya Mountains, near the modern day village of Indian Creek.

There, it rains nine months out of the year.

Archaeologists estimate Nim Li Punit was inhabited between AD 150 and 850.

It lies on the southeastern edge of the ancient Maya zone, at more than 250 miles south of Chichen Itza in Mexico.

Nim Li Punit means ‘big hat’, researchers say.

It was named after its rediscovery in 1976 for one of the elaborate headdresses of a stone figure found there.

Archaeologists speculate that its ancient name may have been Wakam or Kawam, though no one is certain.  

The unexpected discovery was made back in 2015 in a dig…

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