Experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) of Mexico have made significant discoveries in the excavations and restoration work being carried out at the Casa de los Escudos (House of the Shields), one of the most enigmatic buildings in the so-called Initial Series Group at Chichén Itzá.

Thanks to recent research, archaeologists have been able to determine with greater certainty the role of this iconic construction located next to the Palacio de los Falos (Palace of the Phalli).

The House of the Shields, also known as Structure 5C36, dates back to the period between 950 and 1150 AD. According to initial studies, it was thought to have functioned as a courtyard-gallery.

However, meticulous explorations by the project leaders, archaeologists Max Edwin Ayala and José Arturo Cortés, allowed for a clearer identification of the walls, vault setbacks, foundations, and columns that make up its original architecture.

A key find was the recovered carved stone blocks containing reliefs of Maya war shields. These shields were arranged to form decorative friezes on the east and south facades of the building.

Ayala mentions that around twelve complete shields were rescued from the interior, giving the construction its name. The depiction of these military images on the exterior and interior surfaces of the building suggests that it housed activities related to the security of the architectural complex.

The iconic recovered shields are still being analyzed by experts. They feature details such as arrows, spears, and a possible central emblem in the shape of a heart, which could allude to the warrior qualities necessary to defend the site. Additionally, analyses indicate that they originally bore vibrant colors: red, ochre, black, green, and blue.

Based on the discovered archaeological evidence, researchers now conclude that the House of the Shields must have served as the precinct of the guard tasked with protecting the neighboring Palace of the Phalli.

While other nearby buildings present messages associated with the spiritual world, the House of the Shields stands out for its strictly military discourse. Work continues on this unique precinct that continues to reveal more secrets of the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá.


Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH) of Mexico

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