Archaeologists in Guatemala say they have discovered the 7th-century tomb of Lady K'abel, one of the greatest queens of classic Maya civilization.
Unearthed during excavations of the royal Maya city of El Perú-Waka' in northwestern Petén, Guatemala, the grave contained the skeletal remains of a mature individual buried with rich offerings such as dozens of ceramic vessels, numerous carved jade, shell artifacts and a small, carved alabaster jar.
According to the archaeologists, the white vessel strongly suggest the tomb belonged to the warrior Queen Lady K'abel.
Carved as a conch shell, with a head and arm of an aged woman emerging from the opening, the alabaster jar portrayed a woman, mature with a lined face and a strand of hair in front of her ear, while on the other side it featured a brief glyphic text consisting of four hieroglyphs.
One of the most intriguing people who inhabited Waka’ was a woman of uncommon power and status. The discovery and excavation of her tomb in 2004 by team member Jose Ambrosio Diaz drew a lot of attention to the site. “We knew that we were dealing with a royal tomb right away because you could see greenstone everywhere,” says David Lee, a PhD candidate at SMU who is investigating the Waka’ palace complex. Greenstone is archaeologists’ term for the sacred jade the ancient Maya used to signify royalty. The team found hundreds of artifacts in the tomb, which dates to sometime between 650 and 750 AD.
There were several indicators that this woman was important and powerful. Her tomb lay underneath a building on the main courtyard of the city’s main palace. Her stone bed was surrounded by 23 offering vessels and hundreds of jade pieces, beads, and shell artifacts. Among the rubble, the researchers discovered a four- by two-inch jewel called a huunal that was worn only by kings and queens of the highest status. Typically a huunal was affixed to a wooden helmet called a ko’haw that was covered in jade plaques. Carved depictions suggest that only powerful war leaders wore these helmets. On the floor of the queen’s tomb near her head, researchers found 44 square and rectangular jade plaques they believe were glued onto the wooden part of the ko’haw. The presence of this helmet in her torab has led the researchers to the conclusion that this queen held a position of power not typically afforded women of the time. “She may have been more powerful than her husband, who was actually the king of E1 Peril,” Lee concludes.
Although the presence of the helmet identifies her as a warlord, archaeologists have found no evidence of Maya women physically fighting in battles. What they have discovered are images of women as guardians of the tools of war. “The curation of the war helmet is one of the roles of royal women,” says the excavation’s bone expert, Jennifer Piehl. She explains that Maya iconography describes how royal women safeguarded these helmets and then presented them to their kings when they prepared for war. David Freidel says that to the Maya, war was more than just a physical act; it was also an encounter between supernaturally charged beings. Women had an active role in battle by conjuring up war gods and instilling sacred magical power in battle gear.
Once her status as a queen was confirmed, the question became, which queen was she? A good candidate is a woman named Lady K’abel who lived during the Late Classic period and was the daughter of the King Yuknoom Yich’aak K’ak’ of Calakmul.
A detailed portrait of Lady K’abel comes from a stela dated to 692 AD that was looted from Waka’ in the late 1960s. According to Maya expert and project epigrapher Stanley Guenter, inscriptions on the front face of the stela–curated by the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio–clearly identify the woman as Ix Kaloomte’ (lady warlord) or Lady K’abel, princess of Calakmul. “Mosaic mask pectorals formed of greenstone, shell teeth and eye whites, and obsidian pupils found in the interment are consistent with the image of Lady K’abel on Stela 34,” Lee and Piehl posit in a recent paper. “These attributes clearly demonstrate the royal status of the woman and an identification with Lady K’abel.” Radiocarbon dating of the queen’s remains will confirm whether the woman in the tomb lived during the same time period as Lady K’abel.
Women had an active role in battle by conjuring up war gods and instilling sacred magical power in battle gear.
“The curation of the war helmet is one of the roles of royal women,”
Originally posted by Cancerwarrior
reply to post by smyleegrl
I believe that every myth and legend has some sort of basis in reality. I remember reading about how the Amazons were believed to be a myth until archaeologists found the graves of six foot tall women buried in northern Turkey dressed in full battle rattle. I'd have to dig to find the article but I don't think it far-fetched at all to say that she just might have been a badass. Theres a few armies in the world that still use women in their sniper corps because women are a bit more cold-hearted than men when it comes to killing.