Lamanai: Structure N9-56

Lamanai, Str. N9-56

Dec. 30, 1997

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"The facial features are clearly related to those characteristic of Olmec iconography in the Gulf Coast of Mexico, particularly in the upturned lip and the broad nose. The overall treatment of the mask and back panel is, however, unlike anything reported from the Olmec area." Pendergast then goes on to argue that the headress of the mask is a crocodile headress, basing his arguments on similarities of the mask headress with iconography found on pottery at the site.

He continues, "Appearance of the crocodile in this ceremonially important setting underscores the likelihood that the name of the site was indeed Lama'anayin, designating the community as a place where the reptile enjoyed an exalted status in religious belief. Whether or not that status was reflected in special ritual practices involving crocodiles is something we do no know, but it may be that protection rather than sacrifice or other ritual use of the saurians was dictated, as no offering or interment has included crocodile remains."

Pendergast, Journal of Field Archaeology 8:1 38