The jade head, one of the crown jewels of the country, is going to be the feature artifact in a country wide tour scheduled to begin on Monday. The Institute of Archaeology will also be touring other artifacts found along with the jade head but for the first time the unique Maya masterpiece will be the highlight. Love News spoke to Doctor John Morris from the Institute of Archaeology.
Doctor John Morris; Institute of Archaeology
“I think if you look at any dollar bill you will see an image of the Jade Head on that dollar bill but many times when we are giving lectures to schools or to other organizations one of the questions that are asked is; where is the jade head? How come we don’t see the jade head? This year we decided to have a countrywide exhibition tour that features only the jade head and we will take it all around. We will start in Belmopan and then we will go to Dangriga, Toledo, Orange Walk, Cayo and Belize City. We will be in Belmopan at the George Price Center, we will be in Dangriga at the Town Hall, in PG we will be at the St. Peter Claver Parish Hall and then in San Ignacio we will be at the Cahal Pech visitors Center. In Orange Walk we will be at the Banquitas House of Culture and in Corozal we will be at the Corozal Cultural Center and in Belize City we will be at the Bliss Center for the Performing Arts. The jade head will be exhibited for a day in each of these locations.”
Event though the myth about the jade head not being in the country were dispelled back in 2005 many Belizeans still have not seen the unique object.
Doctor John Morris
“The jade head was discovered in Altun Ha in 1968 by Doctor David Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum of Canada and some of his Belizean workers. The jade head was found with 40 other objects and they were placed in a large tomb that was located beneath one of the temples at the site. We call the temple the Temple of the Masonry Altars. The person that was buried with all these exotic was an elderly man that we believe was the ruler of the site during his lifetime. He might have commissioned this jade head to commemorate an important event in his life. We do not know when it was actually carved but from the analysis that was there we know that it dates to somewhere around 600 and 650 A.D. for the purpose of the school children it has an ahau glyph on his forehead; an ahau glyph is a day sign and a head is the representation of the Maya sun God Kinich Ahau. We would like people to come out. It is a rare opportunity. It is one of those kinds of things where the next time we view it will be five ten years from now. This is an opportunity, especially for the school to bring out their children to see the jade head. As a child I never saw the jade head until I began working as an archaeologist. I think this is an excellent opportunity for them to be able to see; they will be able to come up close and see the hade head.”
Weighing in at nine point 75 pounds and standing almost six inches high, the jade head is the single largest carved jade object yet discovered in the Americas. Again the tour will begin on Monday in Belmopan at the George Price Centre from ten am to three pm.