Friday, October 26, 2007

Dead or Alive: Chichén Itzá edition

Whenever I see photos of the Great Ball Court at Chichén Itzá, I don't see those big stone rings up on the walls as goals to shoot a ball through, which seems to be the accepted use. Those rings are pretty small and placed really high up from the ground. The rings being so far above the court would lead to some frustrating and extended games for players and spectators alike. A missed goal probably means the ball flies over the wall and keeps landing in the spectator seats. I don't see how anyone could win at a game like that.

I've always thought of the rings as anchors for a net or barrier, something that would separate the opposing teams during play, somewhat like a volleyball net.

I've read plenty of educational entries in books, articles and on the internet that states the rings are the goals and not anchors, but I have never read or seen any of the scholarly source material that concludes how the game was set up and played from the available evidence. As far as I can determine it is just another one of those accepted facts that everyone "knows" is true because every resource claims it is.

I could be entirely wrong, but it never hurts to always look at things with new eyes.

Science rules!


  1. Nice theory!

    I actually saw these ruins in person, and I can assure you, it was very, very, very hot.

  2. We know about the Mesoamerican Ball Game because it was still being played when the Spanish conquered the Aztecs and they witnessed it, so various conquistadors left accounts of it.

    and I believe it also gets described in the later works of Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxochitl, a Mestizo historian of Mexico who lived in the late 16th, early 17th century.

  3. Ok. Still seems like a stupid way to play to me.


Moderation enabled only because of trolling, racist, homophobic hate-mongers.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.