This photo mosaic of the recently unearthed Maya frieze in the city of Holmul was digitally stitched together from hundreds of high-resolution photos by team member Alexandre Tokovinine, a Maya epigrapher at Harvard University.
The frieze depicts three human figures wearing elaborate bird headdresses and jade jewelry. They are seated cross-legged over the head of a Maya mountain spirit. A cartouche on their headdresses identifies each of them by name. The central figure's name is the only readable one: Och Chan Yopaat, meaning "the storm god enters the sky."
Estrada-Belli and his team speculate that Och Chan Yopaat may have been the leader that the Naranjo king, Ajwosaj, established as the ruler of Holmul after wresting the city back from the Tikal dynasty.
Stuart, of the University of Texas, said he agreed with this interpretation. "This frieze features a ruler we've never seen before in the historical records," he said. "He's the one portrayed in the center, and it's reasonable to guess he was a local ruler of Holmul, and an ally with the more powerful kingdom of Naranjo to the south, which in turn had its political connections to the [Kaanul kingdom]."