Hieroglyphic Staircase

Copan: Hieroglyphic Staircase [January 9, 2004]

The next major step in attempting to understand the inscriptions involved redrawing many of the glyphs, which were not up to modern standards. William Fash writes: "The abundant early dates and historical material on the stairway provided information that could be compared with texts on the standing monuments and on the buried fragments of older ones. The immense task of drawing the stairway inscription was undertaken by project artist, Barbara Fash.

As Fash proceeded, Riese and Peter Mathews (another epigrapher) began to realize and assess the historical material covered in this inscription. Mathews picked out the accession date of the 12th ruler by joining together glyph blocks which had not been restored in their original places. The precise fit of the lines that formed a single glyph shared by the two non-separated blocks demonstrated beyond doubt that they were indeed originally joined. Riese used these and other data to fill in the historical sequence at the site, including the recognition of the names of several rulers on the sides of Altar Q."

William L. Fash, Scribes, Warriors and Kings: The City of Copán and the Ancient Maya, p. 142