The Slow Road
Two Women Wandering the World
Ruins of Copan, a city-state at the southern edge of the Maya world whose golden age lasted from roughly 400 to 800 AD
The site is divided into big plazas, which were originally paved and whitewashed. The plazas were sometimes allowed to flood during the rainy season to form ceremonial lakes.
Chris walking through the playing field of a small ball court with sloped sides
A scoring marker in the ball court shaped like the stylized head of a macaw
In this amazing staircase, each stone is carved with hieroglyphs, making the entire stairway one giant text
The hieroglyph staircase records the dynastic history of the ruler who had it built
An artist's depiction of what the hieroglyph staircase looked like
A depiction of a ruler and his family watching a ball game from the top of a high platform
Mayan statuary reached its apex at Copan. The local stone (green tuff) was fairly soft and easy to carve when quarried but gradually hardened with exposure to air. So carvings lasted better here than at Mayan sites farther north.
A semiwild agouti at the ruins
A carving of a man with some kind of rodent, maybe an agouti
The glyph of the place name Copan, with a bat head in the center
A sculpture of the Maya bat god Zotz, who was associated with Copan. Bats were considered messengers from the underworld.
In Mayan cities, it was common for rulers to built grand temples over the ruins of older ones. But this is a replica of a small temple that archaeologists found completely intact in 1989 inside a later temple.
The older temple was so well preserved that its original paint and plaster decoration were still intact (as this replica in the Copan sculpture museum shows)
The museum also preserves the originals of many of Copan's carved portraits of rulers (the ones standing outside at the site now are copies)
Having fun with a tourist version of a Copan statue
This amazing stone was a breakthrough discovery for historians: It shows the order and names of 16 rulers of Copan.
The sculpture museum at the ruins displays lots of wonderful art found at the site
This seated figure was originally at the top of the hieroglyph staircase
A carving of a scarlet macaw. We saw wild macaws near the entrance to the ruins.
A stone altar shaped like a turtle