Archaeologists decipher names of warriors from the Temple of Jaguars in Chichen Itza


The names correspond to the Cocom rulers’ lineage, the millenary Mayan clan of the “vanilla flower.”

YUCATAN, Mexico (Times Media Mexico) – In an investigation that took seven years, archeologists Eduardo Perez de Heredia and Peter Biró give rise to discovery in Chichén Itzá: they identify one of the oldest lineages in the Superior Temple of Jaguares, which corresponds to the Cocom.

The discovery opens a new door to the knowledge of the mythical Mayan city and the pre-Hispanic Mayan nobility’s ancient lineages. According to the archaeologists’ information, on the study of documents of Theodore Willard and its correlation with the glyphs depicted on the Temple of the Jaguars, where the warriors are represented.

The characters
The 14 characters that were identified name by name surprisingly coincide with 14 of the Cocom nobles in Willard’s document, which lists 61 of them, also coinciding in the order of succession.

This revelation is documented in the book “The Royal House of Cocom. A history of Yucatán”, written by Pérez de Heredia y Bíró, recently published in its digital version and distributed among the international scientific community.

In the book, the authors, doctors in archaeology, reveal the deciphered names of the Cocom, in order of succession: 

Ek, Ekmay
Keuel and Mehen.

Mayan Toponyms
Its translation into Spanish means, in that same order, Star, Raccoon, Priest, Snake, Tooth, Glass, God, Flint, Infant, Charcoal Grass, Cotton, Worm, Animal Skin, and Son.

The Cocom documents are currently housed in the Southwest Museum in Pasadena, USA, which has been closed for years and is not accessible. There are fears among academics about their conservation status.

These documents were bought by Willard at the beginning of the 20th century but were not rediscovered until the 1980s by anthropologist Ruth Gubler.

The Superior Temple of Jaguars or Temple of the Tigers, in whose glyphs the Cocom were identified, was considered by John Lloyd Stephens as “perhaps the greatest gem of aboriginal art that still survives in the American continent.”

Digital edition
The authors of the book, specialists in Mayan archaeology, opted for a free digital edition because it is a general interest subject. They wanted to reach a wider audience, especially in the Yucatan and the Mayan community.

Eduardo Pérez de Heredia and Peter Biró, graduates of UADY and UNAM, respectively, began to collaborate while pursuing their doctorate in archaeology at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, focusing on the history of Chichén Itzá. This is their eighth joint publication.

Toltec Influence
In this new book, they trace the origin of the Cocom lineage from the Terminal Classic period and its adaptation to the arrival of the Toltecs in the early 10th century.

The Cocom lineage, the book explains, may have its origin in the kingdom of Komkom, whose capital coincides with the current site of Buenavista del Cayo, in Belize.

Vanilla Flower
Both terms, Kokom and Komkom, are synonymous and refer to a sarsen plant identified with vanilla. However, Kokom also means judge in Yucatecan Maya and refers to the government position that had this title in Chichen Itza.

Type of orchid called, Vanilla planifolia, from which vanilla is extracted.

In addition to its origin, the work tells the story of the Cocom lineage from its founder “Yajawal Cho” (the Cocom Jaw) in Chichén Itzá in the ninth century to the present day, covering twelve centuries of fascinating stories in which the Cocom were integrated into Chichén Tolteca in the tenth century, and then moved on to found Mayapán.

Nachi Cocom
After the fall of Mayapán, the Cocom family moved to Tibolón and Sotuta, where the famous Nachi Cocom at the Spaniards’ arrival commanded them.

The following pages examine the role of the Cocom in the government of Mayapán until the episode of the massacre, which would lead to their hostility and rivalry with the Tutul Xiu group, which would mark the role each lineage played in the Spanish war of conquest. 

Architectural Evidence
Later, the history of Nachi Cocom and the settlement of the Cocom in Sotuta is presented.

Precisely, the colonial architecture of Sotuta, both civil and religious, incorporates many elements of the Cocom lineage.

This lineage’s characteristic symbols in colonial times were the pheasant, the cross, and the flowers.

Risk of deterioration
The authors warn that Sotuta’s architectural heritage has deteriorated in recent decades, and an extraordinary chapel is currently in danger of collapsing.

The book “The Royal House of Cocom. Una Historia de Yucatán”, by Pérez de Heredia and Péter Bíró, also recovers some somewhat forgotten episodes. Amongst those the “Auto de Fe Act” of Sotuta, in which Fray Diego de Landa exhumed the remains of Nachi Cocom and burned them on a pyre since he discovered that he had committed idolatries during his lifetime.

The Cocom last name, a living lineage.
Mani’s “Auto de Fe act” promoted by Landa, although the best known, was not the only one promoted by the friar.

On June 12, 1562. Bishop Diego de Landa accused the Maya leaders of being heretics and dealing with the devil. He tortured and hanged Mayan religious leaders, as well as burned codices that told the history of the Mayan people. This is known as “Mani s Auto de Fe”

To this day, many Yucatecans carry the Cocom last name, which is more than a thousand years old. They descend from this important Mayan lineage that had a leading role in the history of the pre-Hispanic Yucatan and whose legacy is still alive, explain archaeologists Perez de Heredia and Biró.   

Access to the book
The book can be consulted and download for free through the portal, just click here

Source: The Yucatan Times