PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASQUALE SORRENTINO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mayan ballcourt marker. The ballcourt was the site of the ballgame, a ritual sport played by pre-Columbian (before Europeans) peoples across Mesoamerica, including Mayans and Aztecs. Formal ballgames were sometimes held between warring tribes and involved human sacrifice. This ballcourt is part of the Palace of Taj Chan Ahk in Canceun, a city located in Pasion, El Peten, Guatemala. Taj Chan Ahk, one of the city's most powerful rulers, built the palace in 770 AD. Here, he is seen with a ballgame player who caught the ruler of Machaquilla, a nearby city that he conquered.
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