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Yaxchilan: Step 5
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Yaxchilan, Hieroglyphic Stairway 5

NOMENCLATURE The stone blocks constituting the step are numbered 1 through 45 without regard to the missing blocks that evidently preceded number 1 at the southeast end. However, in numbering the glyphblocks the lost section has been taken into consideration by starting the numeration at 36, a number reckoned large enough to include the glyph-blocks now missing. In view of this, strict adherence to the usage recommended in the Introduction (p. 1:11, note 2) requires that glyph-block designations in this step be prefixed by p, for provisional. The suggested form for referring to a particular glyph is thus YAX:HS.5, p152.

Two blocks both carved with hieroglyphs in two rows were found close to the step and so are likely to have bome some relation to it in their original setting; they have therefore been designated HS.5a and HS.5b.

LOCATION The step runs across the front, or northeast side, of Structure 20, 1.80 m from the facade and about 5 m from the edge of the terrace. The step also serves two flanking buildings not yet excavated at the time of writing, the one to the southeast being only a low mound. For some reason all of the blocks that formed the step in front of this flanking mound have decayed, some to the point of disappearance. Proof that they too were inscribed, however, is provided by the outline of a cartouche on one block. The two blocks, HS.5a and HS.5b, were found lying in debris, one above and one below the step, near the gap between Stones 22 and 25.

The existence of the step was unknown until the temple was cleared of debris by Roberto Garda Moll in 1980, prior to consolidation of the masonry.

CONDITION As mentioned above, the first part of the inscription, some 6 m long, is completely destroyed. The next part, that lying in front of Structure 20 proper, has suffered serious fracturing in places from the impact of stones falling from the high facade. There are also three gaps in this stretch. Beyond the temple no serious damage is seen, and the inscription remains in good condition, having been covered by slump from the northwest flanking mound (which may lie closer to the step than is shown in the sketch plan).

MATERIAL Limestone.

SHAPE Well-trimmed rectangular blocks. The depth of stone below the lower edge of the inscription runs up to 0.30 m. Block 18, set in front of the central doorway, is much wider (1.61 m) than the others.

CARVED AREAS Risers only.

PHOTOGRAPHS Graham, 1981.

DRAWINGS Graham, based on complete stereophotographic coverage.

DIMENS10NS

Blocks HSc 0.18 m average
1-45: Rel 0.9 cm
Total length 29.20 m
 
HS.5a: MW 0.42 m
WSc 0.38 m
Ht 0.39 m
HSc 0.28 m
Rel 0.7 cm
HS.5b: MW 0.34 m
WSc 0.30 m
Ht 0.39 m
HSc 0.28 m
 

 

INSCRIPTIONS

 
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