Tikal: Altar

North Acropolis: Altar

This altar in front of the North Acropolis represents God N, one of the old gods of the underworld who is shown in the right hand photo emerging from a conch shell.

The clover-leaf design which surrounds him represents the mouth of a cave leading to the underworld. God N was also a patron of writing and art.


Tikal: Stela 10

North Acropolis: Stela 10

The 19th ruler bears the name of "Curl Head," which was established by Jones for lack of any other reading and has remained in the literature so far.

Martin and Grube feel that the Curl Head glyph is a generic title and that the true name of this ruler is Kalomte Balam ("Ruler" Jaguar).

Known from both Stelae 10 and 12, this personage's only securely known date is AD 527 which has been taken as the date of dedication for both stelae as well as for his probable date of accession to power.


Tikal: Stela 10

Stela 10

There is a question as to his claim of legitimacy to the Jaguar Claw lineage.

He may indeed have been a usurper. Both monuments stood of the North Terrace fronting the Great Plaza and exhibit the very deep relief that had come to be fashionable at this time at Tikal.

On Stela 10 the king stands facing the front with head turned to the viewer's left and holds his right hand aloft displaying a now eroded object in the fashion of Stormy Sky's gesture on Stela 31.

The text on Stela 10 also refers to a "cutting and chopping" of the seat of title that refers to Calakmul.

This may be a definite reference to a skirmish in the growing animosity between the polities of Calakmul and Tikal which took place under this man's rule."

Peter Harrison, The Lords of Tikal, p. 98-99



Tikal: Stela 40

Front and side of Stela 40

The 12th successor to the rulership at Tikal was Yellow Peccary, who was mentioned on two stelae (9 and 13).

Peter Harrison writes: "Jones interpreted the eroded father glyph on Stela 13 as reading Stormy Sky, making Yellow Peccary the direct line 12th successor.

The iconographic style of Yellow Peccary's two monuments bears no resemblance to the carved works of his father, specifically Stela 31. However, this perception was completely changed by the dramatic discovery in July 1996 of a new carved stela, Stela 40.

This stela was dedicated by K'an Ak [Yellow Peccary] and contains a stunning new series of dates for the lives of both his father, Siyah Chan K'awil [Stormy Sky] and of himself. New facts and dates in the lives of both rulers were revealed.

The text goes on to say that K'an Ak acceded to power in Tikal on 24 August AD 458, 15 days following his father's final interment and that the Stela 40 itself was dedicated by K'an Ak on 20 June 468.

The dedication date is set at only 23 years after the dedication of Stela 31 and the styles are so closely shared as to suggest the same hand carving them. This is extremely helpful in understanding the succession as the inscriptions referring to K'an Ak on Stelae 9 and 13 are short and offer little information with few dates, in stark contrast to the historic record on stela 31.

The dedication date is set at only 23 years after the dedication of Stela 31 and the styles are so closely shared as to suggest the same hand carving them. This is extremely helpful in understanding the succession as the inscriptions referring to K'an Ak on Stelae 9 and 13 are short and offer little information with few dates, in stark contrast to the historic record on stela 31. Some change in manner of presentation took place even though the descent line is intact. From a date on Stela 9, we know that K'an Ak was still ruling in AD 475 but no other dates for his reign are secure.

Some change in manner of presentation took place even though the descent line is intact. From a date on Stela 9, we know that K'an Ak was still ruling in AD 475 but no other dates for his reign are secure.

Peter Harrison, The Lords of Tikal, p. 92


Tikal: Stela 5

Stela 5

Stela 5 was dedicated in AD 744, and is a portrait of ruler Yik'in Chan K'awil, 27th ruler in the succession of rulers of Tikal.    

"Large portions of the front of the stela are battered and stained. Beneath the encrustations, however, is another sensitive and finely-detailed work of art, from the swirling feathers of the ruler's headdress and backframe to the beautiful glyphs on the sides.

Yaxkin Caan Chac [Yik'in Chan K'awil] stands in full profile, his eroded face looking to the viewer's left. A jaguar tail curls down from in front of his earplug over a wide collar of heavy jade beads trimmed with a fringe of feathers. His left hand hangs at his side holding the handle of a pouch.

Behind his feet, with their high-backed sandals and elaborate ankle ornaments, lies a belly-down prisoner. The prisoner's feet kick and twist in the air amid the long feathers swirling down from the backframe."

Glyphs on the side of the stela give Yik'in's parentage, Jasaw Chan K'awil (entombed in Temple I) and Lady Twelve Macaw, possibly memorialized in Temple II.


Genevieve Michel, THe Rulers of Tikal: A Historical Reconstruction & Field Guide to the Stelae, p. 124



Tikal: Stela 11

Stela 11 records the latest date found at Tikal -- it was dedicated in AD 869.

However, the ruler who performed this dedication remains unknown, for the glyphs comprising his name are too badly eroded to be read.

Maudslay's 1882 photograph of Stela 10 shows also the upper half of Stela 11 lying face-down on the ground to the right.

The base of the stela had remained in place when it broke, and the whole has been re-erected at that spot in the center of the second row of monuments on the Great Plaza.

Genevieve Michel, The Rulers of Tikal: A Historical Reconstruction & Field Guide to the Stelae, p. 135