Rick and Valerie spent several seasons excavating in Copan. Rick has a deep knowledge and love of Copan. He was a thrilled to be back and loved talking (sometimes at length and in satisfying detail!) about the site and especially about areas he excavated.
We set out for the ruins early in the morning. Rick gave us an overview of the site using a model in the Visitors’ Center. A Copan guide lent him a long pointing stick with a Macaw feather on the end which used and grew very fond of! Scarlett Macaws are an important symbol of Copan and its classic rulers. Macaws fly free all over the site.
We began our exploration of the Main Group in the Plaza. Rick explained the history of Copan’s rulers, especially Uaxaclajuun Ub’aah K’awiil (also referred to as 18 Rabbit), who filled the plaza with images of himself, on stela, performing various rituals and generally looking godlike.
On we went to the great Copan ball court. We could truly imagine the sounds of cheering (the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat!) and the colors. It must have been a real spectacle in its day (1300 years ago). We sat in the cool shade while Rick explained the game and told us a story about the ball game which included sacrifice, playing games with gods, improbable pregnancies and talking animals from the Popol Vuh.
We stopped and learned about the Hieroglyphic Staircase.
We toured the Acropolis, stopping here and there so Rick could explain the history and significance of various building and sculpture.
We had the exciting (although slightly “close”) opportunity to explore down into the archaeologists’ tunnels below the Acropolis! We saw the famous Rosalila Temple; an early temple buried below later temple structures. Some of us…especially Elaine, were pretty relieved to pop out the other end!
All in all, an absolutely fascinating and educational day at Copan!