It is quite small at 22 centimeters, but incredibly valuable for the researchers from Mexico: A statue provides new insights into the Mayan world of imagination.

It is a very special – and particularly old – find: in southeastern Mexico, archaeologists have discovered an approximately 1,300-year-old sculpture of a Mayan deity. According to the National Institute of Anthropology and History, the researchers discovered the 22 centimeter high sculpture depicting the Mayan corn god at ruins in Palenque.

The small figure was aligned east-west and was probably deliberately and carefully placed in such a way, which the researchers believe may have symbolized the emergence of the maize plants, which are vital for humans, with the first rays of the sun.

Mayan statue represents the corn god

The statue’s head, which was discovered last year, was an offering by a nearby body of water and, according to the researchers, was intended to symbolize the deity’s access to the underworld. The find allows scientists to understand how the Maya in Palenque experienced the mythical transition of birth, death and resurrection of the corn god, it said.

Palenque in the state of Chiapas is one of the most important Mayan sites in Mexico and has been attracting numerous tourists for years because of its impressive buildings.