By Gerard Helferich
A publication completely timed for the re-setting of the Maya calendar in 2012.... half heritage, well known technology, armchair commute, and real-life treasure hunt, this can be the tale of pre-Columbian jade—the beneficial stone respected via old Aztecs, Incans, and Maya—and the scientists, creditors, explorers and marketers who've been looking for the legendary jade mines for century.
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Extra resources for Stone of Kings: In Search of The Lost Jade of The Maya
Like jadeite, serpentine is located in a variety of shades, from black to yellow to eco-friendly, notwithstanding it isn’t approximately as not easy as jadeite, measuring simply 2. five to five. zero at the Mohs scale (as against jadeite’s 6. five to 7. 0). within the paper, Foshag additionally reviewed a few tantalizing discoveries of historical workshops the place jade had as soon as been shaped into goods equivalent to beads, pendants, ear adorns, and mosaics. present in the Forties, the websites ranged from the ruins at Uaxactun, in northern Guatemala; to the village of San Augustín Acasaguastlán within the Motagua Valley, northeast of Guatemala urban; to the nice city-state of Kaminaljuyu, within the western a part of the present-day capital. At this final situation, a jadeite boulder was once additionally stumbled on bearing historical observed cuts and weighing greater than 200 kilos. yet, like such a lot of ahead of him, Foshag lamented, “Jadeite has no longer been present in position in Guatemala or in different elements of Mesoamerica. ” Poring over geological surveys, Foshag spotted that during Burma, the world’s crucial resource of jadeite, it used to be regularly came upon with serpentinite, most likely as the rocks have been shaped jointly. “Any Mesoamerican place of serpentinite,” he concluded, “is a potential resource of jadeite. ” (Serpentine is the identify of a mineral, that is a great shaped via geological job that has a specific chemical composition and constitution; serpentinite is the identify of a rock, that's, an amalgam of multiple mineral that includes nearly completely serpentine. by means of an identical token, jadeite is the identify of the mineral, while a jadeite rock, that's, one consisting nearly solely of jadeite, is technically a jadeitite; during this publication, I’ll regularly check with jadeitites as both jadeite rocks or simply jade. other than in technical discussions, I’ll use rock and stone as synonyms. ) If jade have been came across with serpentinite in Asia, Foshag figured, it's going to be came upon with serpentinite within the Americas to boot. whilst he investigated a small sector of serpentinite within the Mexican kingdom of Puebla, he stumbled on no jade. yet within the Nineteen Thirties, a German naturalist named Karl Sapper had suggested huge deposits of serpentinite in imperative Guatemala, northeast of Guatemala urban, within the Sierra de las Minas, the mountains forming the northern border of the Motagua River Valley. And jade boulders and pebbles have been came upon close by within the historic Maya urban of Quirigua. The Sierra de las Minas, Foshag concluded, was once where to seek for jade. by means of the Nineteen Fifties, Foshag was once head curator of geology on the Smithsonian and one of many country’s ultimate gem specialists. In Guatemala, he befriended American archaeologist Edwin Shook, director of the excavations at Tikal (and codiscoverer of the jadeite boulder at Kaminaljuyu), who had additionally been looking for deposits of jade. Shook brought Foshag to a tender American named Robert Leslie, an natural chemist who was once working an agricultural venture within the Motagua Valley. A self-described rock hound, Leslie beloved to spend his loose time scouting the foothills of the Sierra de las Minas for specimens so as to add to his assortment.