Ritual and Divination in Ancient Maya Dice Games

Author(s): John Walden

Year: 2015


In this presentation I examine the dice games played by the ancient Maya and investigate the interpretation proposed by several Mayanists that these games were used primarily for divinatory purposes. I examine the archaeological contexts of these ‘patolli’ boards and review the substantial body of ethno-historical and ethnographic material from broader Mesoamerican contexts in order to scrutinize the interpretation that these games served as divinatory devices and to offer other interpretations and possibilities. This body of evidence is then compared with both ethno-historic and ethnographic accounts of Maya shamanistic divination in order to further query the claim that these dice games were used in divinatory rituals in the ancient Maya world

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Cite this Record

Ritual and Divination in Ancient Maya Dice Games. John Walden. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 394876)


divination Patolli

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;