Role of Handstones in Mesoamerican Ballgame

Author(s): Katherine Shurik

Year: 2015


Handstone is one of the artifacts that is associated with the Mesoamerican ballgame. However, barely any research has been published about them, since 1961, when Stephan Borhegyi first analyzed them. He identified that the handstones vary in size and shape. In the past, it has been suggested that they could be used to serve the ball when initiating the ballgame. Recent analysis of their size, abrasion, and context in imagery identifies the improbability of using them as a serving tool. Not a single image in the sample displays a player holding a handstone while playing the game. All images that contain handstones display a ritual and/or mythological context, most frequently directly connected with sacrifices. These include purely mythological images of various gods interacting and sacrificing another deity and images with historical figures that are being sacrificed and crossing into mythological realm, as a result of it.

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Role of Handstones in Mesoamerican Ballgame. Katherine Shurik. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397683)

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Spatial Coverage

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