A two-sided Maya stele has been uncovered in the ancient city of Uxmal by archaeologists with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).
On both its front and its reverse, the stone features two deities—one female, the other male—that are believed to represent life and death. The stele was found in a sunken patio at the complex El Palomar, which is part of a group of four palaces surrounding a courtyard, of which only the northern front remains.
On the north side of the stele, a female deity is depicted wearing a pectoral with three rows of pearls, bracelets, and a patterned skirt. She appears to be holding a quetzal bird in her left hand.
On the south side, a male deity is shown wearing a wide-brimmed headdress adorned with feathers and what appears to be an owl’s head, a loin cloth, and a cape. He seems to be holding a cane in his left hand.
Uxmal, located in the Puuc region along the eastern Yucatán Peninsula, was a Maya polity. The city was founded around 500 C.E. and quickly emerged as one of the most powerful Maya polities in the area.
The region was known for its architectural style, which prospered during the Late Classic Period around 600 C.E.–900 C.E. The Puuc style is characterized by limestone construction with smooth wall surfaces and plaster or stucco finishes. Often adorning Puuc structures are representations of the rain god Chac.