A limestone block carved with hieroglyphs -from La Ruta Maya collection- was examined by specialists in art history, archeology and epigraphy, in order to determine -at least partially- the lost history of an object that was looted years ago.
Known as the Hix Witz Panel, this block is registered with the No. 188.8.131.525 at the Cultural Heritage Registry of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and is dated to the Late Classic period (600-900 AD). However, little was known about it, as it had been ripped from its original context, destroying any related information. Therefore, it was urgent and important to identify it. The archaeologist and Pre-Columbian art historian, Dr. Dorie Reents-Budet, and epigrapher Simon Martin, made a careful examination of its style and hieroglyphic texts and concluded that:
La Ruta Maya Conservation Foundation received, from Dr. Francis Robicsek, a collection of slides of architectural remains, monuments, and views of archaeological sites in Mesoamerica, taken by him in the mid-20th century. The slide collection is in the process of analysis and organization into a comprehensive database, which will be available to researchers and the interested public.
Dr. Robicsek also donated 23 sets (each set containing 5 books) of the “Biologia Centrali-Americana; or Contributions to the Knowledge of the Fauna and Flora of Mexico and Central America” by Alfred Percival Maudslay, which were reprinted from the original plates by Milpatron Publishing Corp, New York, in 1974.
A mosaic mask of La Ruta Maya Foundation, was restored from a handful of small pieces of jade, coral and shell. The batch of mosaic pieces was registered a few years ago with the No. 184.108.40.2061 by the Cultural Heritage Registry, who put the number behind the part identified as the nose. The mosaics of jade were put in place and glued on a resin base by restaurateur Robert Stoetzer of Stoetzer Inc. The restoration was based on careful studies of the pieces and is completely reversible.
This object was part of the permanent exhibition of the Príncipe Maya Museum, which was located in the center of the city of Cobán, Alta Verapaz (Guatemala). This collection, unable to continue under the care of the previous holders, became part of the Ruta Maya Foundation to ensure safekeeping, care, access to researchers and students, and its exhibition to the general public.
The Ministry of Culture and Sports, in collaboration with La Ruta Maya Foundation, concluded the process to return three limestone blocks with inscriptions to Guatemala. The three are part of one of the Hieroglyphic Staircases from La Corona Archaeological Site and refer to dates between 662 AD and 683 A.D.
Archaeologists Marcello Canuto (Tulane University) and Tomas Barrientos (Universidad del Valle de Guatemala), who directed excavations at the archaeological site of La Corona, commented: "The recovery of these blocks is a big step for the reconstruction of the hieroglyphic staircase discovered this year, as it was completely dismantled by looters”. It also sets a precedent to recover other blocks from this and other staircases that are now in museums and private collections outside Guatemala.
Welcome to the website of La Ruta Maya Conservation Foundation, the only private organization that manages and promotes the return of antiquities to Guatemala, to be legally registered as the Nation´s cultural heritage and exhibited in the country’s main museums.
Our purpose is to rescue, preserve, and allow the study of Pre-Columbian art to promote public interest and appreciation for the Maya and Mesoamerican cultures, through publications and education.