Eccentric Flints

Three eccentric flints, c. AD 755: Village of Copán Museum of Archaeology [January 9, 2004]

"In his 1987 excavations underneath the altar that forms the base of the Hieroglyphic Stairway, David Stuart uncovered the offertory cache placed there when the stairway was commemorated. Comprising one of the finest ceremonial offerings ever uncovered at the ancient city, this cache contained some very important clues about the building and its meaning to the king who commemorated it. The cache was placed under a stone cap directly underneath the altar, and included: a lidded ceramic censer containing two jadeite pieces, a lanceolate flint knife, a shell, some ash and carbon, and some sting-ray and sea urchin spines. Carefully placed next to the ceramic vessel were three elaborately chipped eccentric flints. The objects selected for burial all had a stong symbolic value, and can be related to the images and messages of the overall monument.

The three eccentric flints are among the finest examples of this exquisite art form yet uncovered, each displaying seven Classic Maya heads depicted in profile. The flints are lanceolate in form, and from the size of their tangs it is obvious that they were hafted to some sort of shaft, in all probability a long lance. The amount of skill required to produce objects of this sort is beyond the capability of any present-day flint-knapper, and must have been exceptional, even in Classic Maya cities such as Copán. Thus, the individual who bore such a lance was distinguished indeed.

These were symbolic weapons worthy of divine warriors, and I would argue that some of the stairway portrait figures carried lances topped with eccentrics such as these."

William L. Fash, Scribes, Warriors and Kings: The City of Copán and the Ancient Maya, p. 120