“You have to come see this,” Levi said, grabbing Nicholas’ hand and pulling him gently around the side of the temple pyramid. “The pictures don’t do it justice.”
Levi was right. The majesty of the ancient building couldn’t be captured digitally. It had to be experienced.
Nicholas had to watch his feet on the uneven ground, careful not to trip over roots. He remembered Becky following behind him and glanced back to smile. She was just as enthralled. He didn’t bother reaching for her hand. They both needed to experience this for themselves.
They made their way around the corner of the temple pyramid where the team had more fully cleared the ground in order to step closer to the walls for a better close-up experience.
“So, it is more detailed than Stella 5 from Izapa.” Nicholas could feel his heart racing. “That wasn’t just our fantastical idea based on excitement.”
“The whole thing reads like a codex,” Levi said. hurrying ahead. “The same geometric and hieroglyphic narrative as the Egyptian system from the 26th dynasty. The same measurements based on the Egyptian cubit, and the same radius of the circle of the Babylonian cubit. And get this; there are 260 of them.”
“To mark the calendar circuit for the Sun’s 260 days southern passage,” Nicholas guessed.
“Or to mark the 260-day cycle that represents the gestation period celebrating the creation of man,” Levi corrected.
“You’re always looking for a religious angle, aren’t you?” Nicholas rolled his eyes. “You can’t just see the symbolism as worshiping the sun?”
“In Izapa, yes,” Levi said. “The entire Izapa plaza is laid out to highlight the passage of the sun overhead, warranting the designation as a temple to the sun. The Izapa sequence is dedicated to the four seasons and the lunar months.”
“The Mayan were smart,” Nicholas said.
“They still are.” Levi glanced back at Tiani, who stood regally with her chin lifted with a serene boredom that comes with not understanding a word they were staying. Levi translated his comment for her alone. “Le maaya’obo’ ku inteligentes.”
A tiny smile played at the corner of Tiani’s mouth and then she pulled her face back into her stoic façade.
“Anyway, the complexity is on the same level as Stella 5,” Levi said, returning to the task at hand. “But Izapa only shows a rendering of the tree of life, which is one tiny portion of the story. This is like having 260 stellas side-by-side wrapping around the entire base of the temple pyramid and tells the whole story.”
“What do you mean by the whole story?” Becky asked, stepping closer and fingering the ornate carvings.
“Back to the creation of man.” Levi’s whisper was almost reverent, and he raised his eyebrows. “You ask me how I can connect a religious angle? How can I not?”
Nicholas felt chills run up his spine. He’d heard Levi’s argument before. If all ancient texts from opposite sides of the world told the same story… maybe the story was true.