King Janaab’ Ohl K’inich Necklace
In southern Belize, excavations at Nim Li Punit found a jade artifact. The 2015 find turned out to be an exceptionally rare and out-of-place pendant. Measuring 7.4 inches wide and 4.1 inches long (18.8 cm x 10.4 cm), the necklace was T-shaped and curiously, was discovered inside a platform with the same form. Thirty hieroglyphs describe its purpose and owner, making it the only pendant discovered with a historical account.
It belonged to King Janaab’ Ohl K’inich and was worn on his chest during important weather rituals. What it was doing at an outpost far removed from all Mayan cities, remains a mystery. Furthermore, it named his parents and possible links with faraway Caracol, a powerful city. The jade itself was mined from Guatemala, revealing political and trading relationships never before credited to Nim Li Punit. The king’s presence there was unusual. Even more so was that of the pendant and its odd burial, not with its royal master, but with other objects around A.D. 800 in what may have been a desperate offering to the Mayan wind god, during a time when their civilization was collapsing.