Mexican experts: nearly 1,000-year-old Maya text authentic

Mexico's National Anthropology and History Institute says it was made between 1021 and 1154 A.D., is the oldest known pre-Hispanic text, and will now be known as the "Mexico Maya Codex." (INAH/AP)
Updated 02 September 2018
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Mexican experts: nearly 1,000-year-old Maya text authentic

  • The 10 surviving pages of the tree-bark folding “book” will now be known as the Mexico Maya Codex
  • The fact that it was looted and had a simpler design than other surviving texts had led some to doubt its authenticity

MEXICO CITY: Fifty-four years after it was sold by looters, an ancient Maya pictographic text was judged authentic by scholars Thursday.
Mexico’s National Institute of History and Anthropology said the calendar-style text was made between 1021 and 1154 A.D. and is the oldest known pre-Hispanic document.
The 10 surviving pages of the tree-bark folding “book” will now be known as the Mexico Maya Codex. It had been known as the Grolier Codex. It may have originally had 20 pages, but some were lost after centuries in a cave in southern Chiapas state.
It contains a series of observations and predictions related to the astral movement of Venus. Mayan texts are written in a series of syllabic glyphs, in which a stylized painted figure often stands for a syllable.
A Mexican collector bought it in 1964, and it was first exhibited at the Grolier Club in New York in 1971.
Collector Josue Saenz returned the book to Mexican authorities in 1974.
The fact that it was looted and had a simpler design than other surviving texts had led some to doubt its authenticity.
“Its style differs from other Maya codex that are known and proven authentic,” the institute said in a statement. About three other later Maya “books” survived an attempt by Spanish conquerors to destroy Mayan artifacts in the 1500s.
But the institute said Thursday that because the book was written so early, it had been created in an era of relative poverty compared to the other works. It said a series of chemical tests proved the authenticity of the pages and the pre-Hispanic inks used to write it.
While previous studies had supported the authenticity of the text, it was the end of decades of doubts for the book.
“For a long time, critics of the codex said the style wasn’t Mayan and that it was ‘the ugliest’ of them in terms of figures and color,” said institute researcher Sofia Martinez del Campo. “But the austerity of the work is explained by its epoch, when things are scarce one uses what one has at hand.”


British rockers Wolf Alice upset odds to win Mercury Prize

Rockers Wolf Alice picked up the £25,000 prize. (AFP)
Updated 2 min 26 sec ago
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British rockers Wolf Alice upset odds to win Mercury Prize

  • Wolf Alice's critically-acclaimed album charted at number two in Britain on its release in September

LONDON: Rockers Wolf Alice defied the odds to win Britain’s prestigious Mercury Prize on Thursday for their second album “Visions of a Life,” beating off competition from heavyweights Arctic Monkeys and Noel Gallagher.
“This means so much,” said emotional frontwoman Ellie Rowsell as she picked up the £25,000 ($33,000, 28,000 euros) prize, which is presented annually for the best album released by a British or Irish artist, according to a panel of judges.
The north London four-piece, who released their debut album in 2015, join past winners including Primal Scream, Franz Ferdinand, PJ Harvey, The xx and grime star Skepta.
The band, whose critically-acclaimed album charted at number two in Britain on its release in September, closed out the show with a celebratory performance of album track “Don’t Delete the Kisses.”