Honduras - Stelae and Altars in Copan

Travel pictures from Honduras

by Dr. Günther Eichhorn

The Stelae in Copán are extraordinary. They have extensive inscriptions and sculptures. The Stelae all have an altar associated with them, placed in front of the stela. These altars are associated with blood letting ceremonies.

The hieroglyphs on the Stelae describe the ruler that built them, and the reason, like ascension to the throne, or a significant calendar event.

Numbers in hieroglyphs on the Stelae are easy to identify. The numbers from 1 to 4 are one to four dots. 5 is represented by a bar. For instance this picture shows the hieroglyph of the 13th ruler of Copán, indicated by two bars (2*5=10), and three dots):

See Copán Temples for a description of the Temples. The rulers of Copán are described at Maya ruler genealogy.

The Mayan calendar dates are shown in the Long Count notation or in the Calendar Round notation with Tzolk'in Cycle date and Haab' Calendar date.