An Account of the Kings of Kanu’l as Recorded on the Hieroglyphic Stair of K’an II of Caracol

Author(s): Christophe Helmke; Sergei Vepretskii

Year: 2021


This is an abstract from the "New Light on Dzibanché and on the Rise of the Snake Kingdom’s Hegemony in the Maya Lowlands" session, at the 86th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Much remains unknown as to the hieroglyphic stair dedicated by 642 AD by K’an II, the great king of Caracol. Constituent panels were discovered at a number of different sites, including Caracol, Ucanal, Naranjo, and Xunantunich. The most recently discovered panels contribute greatly to our understanding of this fascinating monument and the tumultuous decades of the Kanu’l dynasty. Thanks to the recent discoveries, many gaps have been closed, with Panels 3 and 4 standing out as bookends of this great narrative. Panel 4 at Xunantunich opened the narrative that adorned the hieroglyphic stair and makes a surprising statement right from the onset, clarifying that political authority was resolutely established at Calakmul. This is bold statement serves as a synoptic précis for the entire hieroglyphic stair. As such, the deeds of K’an II are related, but only to the extent that they can be interwoven with the actions of the Kanu’l lords, tracked from the vantage point of a close ally. These monuments attest to the fissioning of the Kanu’l dynasty and its eventual restoration at Calakmul, from whence much of Classic Maya politics would be overseen during the remainder of the seventh century.

Cite this Record

An Account of the Kings of Kanu’l as Recorded on the Hieroglyphic Stair of K’an II of Caracol. Christophe Helmke, Sergei Vepretskii. Presented at The 86th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. 2021 ( tDAR id: 467367)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -94.197; min lat: 16.004 ; max long: -86.682; max lat: 21.984 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 33585