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Pomona


Also spelled Pomoná. Maya-region site listed - as "Pomoná, Tabasco" - in The Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions "Sources of Sculpture and their Codes" and designated PMT (Graham and Mathews 1999).

From the INAH placard at the site:

In mid 1898, Teobert Maler, the Austrian photographer and explorer, was in Tenosique preparing to explore the region composed of Palenque, Chinikihá and Yaxchilán, in search of ancient Maya cities. He traveled by canoe from Tenosique, folowing the course of the Usumacinta River to the village of Pomoná, where his expedition began. Although there is no description of the site in his report, it is probable that he visited it since the place is registered on his trip route map. More than 60 years went by before Pomoná became of interest once more. On this occasion, Cesár Lizari Ramos responded to a report of looting: there was an attempt to extract some monuments with hieroglyphic inscriptions from the site. The opportune intervention of the researcher prevented the robbery attempt and allowed him to get to know a series of fragmented stelae and inscriptions which establish the historical development of the site around 750 A.D. At this time, referred to as the Late Classic by archeologists, other Maya sites in the zone, such as Palenque, Piedras Negras, Tikal and Yaxchilán, were also flourishing. In 1960, Heirich Berlin began the study of the inscriptions of Pomoná. His research led to the discovery of the emblem glyph with which this site was identified during the prehispanic period. Between 1986 and 1988, the National Institute of Anthropology and History, with support from the Cultural Institute of Tabasco, carried out an archeological study of the site, which included the exploration of some of the most important buildings.

Adversarial encounters with Pomona are recorded in the inscriptions of Palenque and Piedras Negras. Palenque's House C Hieroglyphic Stairway relates the taking of six prisoners by K'inich Janaab' Pakal in AD 659, one of whom is said to come from Pipa', a placename closely associated with Pomona. The death of another Pipa' lord in 663 is recorded on the opposite site of House C, in association with six captives from Santa Elena, another Tabasco site.

Stela 12 of Piedras Negras records two "star war" victories over Pomona in 792 and 794 by Piedras Negras Ruler 7 and his ally Parrot Chaak of La Mar. A Distance Number of almost 240 years separates the latter of these two victories from an earlier event involving Pomona. Archaeologists working at Piedras Negras (Houston et al. 2000:102) connect this earlier event with evidence of probable destruction by burning at the site around 9.6.0.0.0 (AD 554). They suggest a context in which Pomona and Piedras Negras might have been adversaries:

Pomona is not well published (although see López Varerla [n.d.]), but it appears to have had a dipersed settlement pattern, with several hill-top centers in the Tabasco plain that were under the control of the same dynasty. Pomona was a natural enemy of Piedras Negras: it controlled a different ecological zone to the north and formed a bottleneck through which Piedras Negras would naturally choke as it pushed into lands to the north. In addition, a stela at Panhale, a site that also uses the Pomona emblem, lies on a hilly zone near the Boca del Cerro, where the Usumacinta flows out of karstic topography into the plains of Tabasco. Most of these sites are intervisible, being placed on low prominences. Pomona itself looks easily to the canyon of the Boca (Houston et al. 2000:101).

Inscriptions at Pomona record the k'atun endings of 9.0.0.0.0, 9.4.0.0.0 and 9.6.0.0.0 (Houston et al. 2000:101).

Interestingly, the locations connected with these calendrical events shift from place to place, including a placename, Pipha', that may refer to this portion of the Usumacinta. This is consistent with what may be a diffuse pattern of royal settlement in the plains below the Boca del Cerro (Houston et al. 2000:101).

Tomás Pérez Suárez (2003) suggests that Pipa' refers to the Usumacinta after it emerges from the Boca del Cerro.