Archaeologists discovered these two limestone monuments in Tipan Chen Uitz in 2015, just six years after locals showed them the remains of the enormous Maya polity, which had previously been undocumented by modern archaeologists.
The stone panels reinforce the ballgame's importance to the Maya, and details within them suggest that Tipan was connected with other, larger Maya sites when it was populated hundreds of years ago, the researchers said. [Read the full story about the Maya ballplayer panels]
Tipan Chen Uitz
"We were taken to the site, and lo and behold, it greatly exceeded our expectations," said study senior researcher Christopher Andres, an adjunct research associate at Michigan State University who specializes in Maya archaeology. "It's a very large site, a major Maya political center."
The researchers previously described Monument 1 and Monument 2 in a 2014 study in the journal Latin American Antiquity and a 2015 study in the journal Mexicon.
The ballplayer panels found at Tipan are the first of their kind to be uncovered in Belize, the researchers said.
[Read the full story about the Maya ballplayer panels]