majestic Maya city of Piedras Negras rose to preeminence
in the Late Classic period (AD 600-900), at which time
it vied for control of the upper reaches of the river
with its longtime rival Yaxchilan, 40 kilometers to the
south. In antiquity, the city was known as Yokib' ("the
entrance"), possibly because of a 100-meter-wide
sinkhole at the site. "Entrances" such as caves
and sinkholes were revered by the Maya as portals to the
spirit world. Seen
as a reconstructed watercolor of Tatiana Proskouriakoff,
K-5 was built or greatly expanded by Ruler 2 around 677.
Negras has two principal architectural groups, which include
temple pyramids, ballcourts, and numerous carved reliefs
and stelae that have been regarded as some of the finest
works of art in the New World. The site is of special importance
to Maya epigraphers. It was here that in 1960, the great
Russian architect and linguist Tatiana Proskouriakoff succeeded
in determining the historical content of the inscriptions,
long thought to be solely astronomical or mythological in
site is threatened by looting, erosion, exposure to the
elements, and exuberant vegetation, which have wrought havoc
on the site, causing a dramatic loss of detail in carved
inscriptions and iconographic scenes and buildings and walls
to collapse. The site will be at risk for flooding if the
Mexican government proceeds with plans to build a series
of hydroelectric dams on the Usumacinta.
of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties
of the Ancient Maya. Simon Martin and Nikolai Grube.
Thames and Hudson. 2000. Page 145.
The Piedras Negras: Lesson Plan (PDF File)
Arts of the Maya: Exhibition Family Guide National Gallery
Lowland Maya Civilization: Scribes,
Priests and Kings in the Tropical Rainforest