Patolli Game Found at a Maya Site

By Mike Ruggeri

MEXICO — The Mesaoamerican board game “Patolli” has been found by INAH at the site of Dzibilnocac in Campeche during restoration at the Central Tower Building.

Photo: Herber Ortega / INAH.

The game was apparently played during the 600-900 CE period — the Late Classic. Like other Patolli games in the Maya area, the game was found in an enclosure difficult to access, to watch the game.

The Maya version of the game looks like a quincunx with the number of cells that players could traverse corresponds to the 52 year cycle and the 260 day calendar. This could have been a divination tool to predict the future of individuals or events.

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History’s (INAH) report details new architectural elements also found at the site during restoration work.

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