Mysterious Jade Megajewel Found in Belize

A team of archeologists led by UC San Diego archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell has discovered a carved jade megajewel in the Maya ruins of Nim Li Punit in Belize. Measuring an enormous 7.4 by 4.1 inches, the priceless pendant was meant to be worn on the chest of the king who commissioned it more than 1,200 years ago, Janaab Ochl K’inich.

Unearthed during a 2015 expedition in the thick jungles of southern Belize, Braswell’s team compared the discovery of the jade megajewel to the Hope Diamond, a 45-carat megadiamond worth an estimated $250 million. Jade was highly coveted by the ancient Maya who believed the rare stone was charged with spiritual powers. According to Braswell, the royal pendant was fashioned with extreme skill, the ancient Maya craftsmen etching a series of 30 hieroglyphs onto a brittle slab of jade measuring just 0.3 inches thick.

The text carved on the pendant describes the rise of King Janaab Ohl K’inich to the throne in the year 672 and describes his royal lineage, linking him to other powerful Maya city states in the west. But it is the fact that the jade megajewel was found not buried with an ancient ruler but with a collection of sacrificial offerings that has historians excited. According to an article published in the Journal of Field Archeology, the location of the megajewel in a tomb along with 25 ceramic vessels and a stone idol of the Maya god of wind some 200 years after the death of King Janaab Ohl K’inich tells a tragic tale. The pendant was probably a desperate sacrifice to the god of wind and rain in a time when climate change and civil unrest led to the collapse of Maya civilization and the abandonment of cities like Nim Li Punit.

“This unexpected windfall of historical importance is one more reason why visiting ancient Maya sites is a great choice for people on vacation in Belize,” said Larry France, marketing manager of the Chabil Mar resort in Placencia, Belize. “Finds like the jade megajewel are helping us develop a fuller understanding of Maya history.”

Chabil Mar is a multiple award-winning luxury resort located on Belize’s sunny Placencia Peninsula. With luxuriously appointed villas, a gourmet restaurant, and a lush tropical garden, Chabil Mar offers guests tailored vacations to all of the best attractions in the country, including visiting ancient Maya ruins, exploring the rainforest, and enjoying world-class sailing, fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling on the Belize Barrier Reef.

Visit our website for more information about Belize, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize vacation.


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