We carry a lot of unusual things with us when we take the Jaguar Stones Series on the road: a conch shell trumpet, fried mealworms and homemade blowguns to name a few. We sometimes bring our Maya King costume and a full sized mannequin to display it. So here’s Pamela carrying the king’s legs into the Boston Museum of Science where we were participating in their annual archaeology fair for International Archaeology Day 2015.
Sign says “Hello to our Turkish readers, we hope you enjoy The Lost City!”
Jaguar Stones Book Four The Lost City is being published in Turkey this month, so we sent a shout out to our wonderful Turkish fans who have made the Jaguar Stones series a best seller.
Q. What do Maya anthropologists do when they’re waiting for dinner?
A. They draw Maya glyphs on the tablecloths.
This is our friend Marc Zender one of the leading Maya epigraphers giving us an impromptu masterclass on Maya glyphs. The glyph he’s drawing is “Aj Baj”, which is how Marc writes his own name in Maya glyphs. Aj Baj means “one who hammers”, which correlates to the latin word for hammer “marcus”. The glyphs are doubly apt for Marc as he deciphered both of them. Here’s a closer look.
This fall we attended Maya at the Playa – the annual conference where leading Maya archaeologists talk about their latest discoveries. These discoveries are beginning to bring to life some of the Maya individuals who lived at pivotal moments in their city’s history. Here are three of this year’s most fascinating stories.
Tzabh Chan Yopaat
At the Maya city of Holmul archaeologists discovered an inscription that tells the story of a noble named Tzahb Chan Yopaat (the name means Storm-god Rattles the Sky). Holmul was on the front line in the centuries-long war between the two superpowers of the Maya world: Tikal and Calakmul. In a tale of intrigue and betrayal, Tzahb Chan Yopaat rises to power and switches his city’s long standing allegiance from Tikal to Calakmul. His forces then join the Calakmul army in a devastating attack on Tikal. Just like in a fairytale, Tzahb Chan Yopaat is rewarded with the hand of a princess in marriage and is crowned a divine king in the Calakmul empire.
On the westernmost edge of the Maya region lies the city of Comalcalco. It’s an unusual city because its pyramids are made of bricks rather than stone. Marc Zender (the anthropologist who checks all our facts in the Jaguar Stones books) told the story of a Maya priest Aj Pakal Than who was Fire Lord to the storm god Chahk. He was found buried with a string of inscribed shell markers that were his own personal divination library. On one he wrote that in the year 763 AD there was crippling drought and famine. (Extreme weather was also recorded in Medieval European chronicles that year.) So severe was the drought that, for years to come, it was the focus of major rituals at Comalcalco.
3. LA CORONA:
Calakmul King performs a dance
Tulane archaeologist Maxime Lamoureax St-Hilaire told about his discovery of two inscribed stone panels which show that Maya life was more than just battles and drought – it also involved a lot of dressing up and dancing! On the first panel, a Calakmul king is depicted performing a dance to celebrate the end of a decade on the throne. On the second, the glyphs tell the story of Chak Ak’ Paat Kuy who travels from La Corona to Calakmul. There, at the capital city of the snake kingdom, he is dressed in a snake lord costume, adorned in royal symbols and invested as a divine king. He then travels back to La Corona where he constructs a shrine to bury his recently deceased parents. You can read more about this discovery here.
With his parents in jail and his best friend ignoring him, fourteen-year-old Max Murphy was pretty sure things couldn’t get much worse. But that was before a parade of Maya monsters crashed through his house and the Queen of the Bats tried to sink her fangs into his neck…
Meanwhile, down in the Maya underworld, the evil Death Lords have realized they’ll never conquer the mortal world without conquering social media. So with the bad guys on a charm offensive, it’s up to Max and his Maya friend Lola to reveal the terrible truth before it’s too late.
This epic conclusion to the Jaguar Stones series takes Max and Lola on their wildest adventure yet, north from the teeming rainforest to the lost city at the heart of America’s past.
You can buy Jaguar Stones Book Four: The Lost City at your local Independent bookstore, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine bookstores.
If you’ve been following this blog you’ll know that our publishers are redesigning all the covers in the series to match the look of Jaguar Stones Book Four: The Lost City. Middleworld was the first book to get the makeover. Now it’s the turn of The End of the World Club and The River of No Return. We love the new look. Tell us what you think.
The new look of Book Two: The End of the World Club
The new look of Book Three: The River of No Return
Last weekend, we were thrilled to celebrate the International Day of Archaeology by participating in the AIA Archaeology Fair at the Museum Of Science in Boston. There were groups presenting everything from Roman battle techniques, to atlatl spear-throwing and underwater archaeology.
Modeling a virtual headdress
It was particularly exciting for Maya fans as MOS is currently hosting the amazing Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed exhibit. The exhibit has a breathtaking collection of Maya artifacts, as well as some fun interactive technology. Not only can you create and print out your Maya name and a stela with your birth date, you can also virtually dress yourself up as a Maya nobleperson, scribe or warrior. If you’re near Boston it’s well worth the visit.
At our table, we were were doing Maya math demonstrations, looking up birthdays in the Maya calendar and making birthday glyph buttons. (Most satisfying result: the female surgeon whose birthday turned out to be One Blade!) We were also honored to give a presentation on Maya archaeology in the magnificent Cahner’s theater, followed by a book signing.
Thank you to everyone who came by, especially Jaguar Stones fans old and new. For those of you who couldn’t make it, we didn’t forget you! We came away with loads of stickers and buttons, and everyone who enters this month’s Jaguar Stones Club Giveaway will get one – for as long as stocks last.
And to leave you with one glorious final snapshot from an amazing day, please admire the stand-alone display of Jaguar Stones books in the two MOS shops!