A stone scoreboard used to keep track of sports games has been identified by archaeologists at Chichén Itzá, the ancient Mayan complex situated among Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula.
The circular artifact contains hieroglyphic writing in a ring around two players, who are shown standing with a ball between them. The piece, dating between 800 CE and 900 CE, measures more than 12 1/2 inches in diameter and weighs about 88 pounds.
The stone serves as a record of a traditional Mesoamerican ball game believed to have possible ties to ritual practices.
“In this Mayan site, it is rare to find hieroglyphic writing, let alone a complete text,” archaeologist Francisco Perez, who coordinated the investigations in the Chichanchob or Casa Colorada complex at the site, told Reuters.
While preparing for further conservation, researchers are conducting a detailed study of the text and iconography on the stone.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chichén Itzá is believed to have been built between 500 CE and 600 CE. Earlier this year, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) uncovered elite residences within the Mayan city and announced the construction of a new museum that is expected to bolster tourism at the archaeological site, which currently sees about 2 million visitors each year.