Cave with near perfect Mayan artifacts discovered by Mexican Archaeologists.
Juan Pablo Moreno Castillo
This past Monday, March 4, it was reported by the Associated Press that a team of Mexican archaeologists, led by Guillermo de Anda, found a cave near the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza with nearly 200 ceramic vessels in virtually untouched conditions.
The National Institute of anthropology and History (INAH), reported that the vessels appear to date from approximately 1000 years ago and contain bone fragments and burnt offering materials that are still being analysed by the expert team.
The exploration of the cave began last year (2018) after local Mayan residents told the team about it. Apparently the cave had been discovered by locals in the 1960’s who informed the chief archaeologists about it but he ordered it sealed (most likely to protect it) and issued a brief report that was eventually forgotten in government archives.
The ceramic braziers and incense burners found by the archaeological team bear the likeness of Chaac, the Mayan rain god. At the same time, Chaac, bears an uncanny resemblance with Tlaloc, the rain god of central Mexico civilizations. It may have been the case that the Maya imported Tlaloc from other pre-Hispanic cultures and adapted him to their own rituals. Clay boxes and other vessels were also found inside the cave, which the team has decided to leave untouched.
According to De Anda, ancient Mayas most likely had to crawl through the extremely narrow cave passages to deposit the offerings inside a few larger, higher chambers. The offerings, it is theorized, were meant to ask the gods for rain.
The cave, called Balamku, is about 2.75kms east of the main pyramid of Kukulkan, famously known as “El Castillo” (The Castle).
The archaeologist team led by De Anda is tasked with exploring the underground water system at Chichen Itza, and its routes. Besides the cenotes (sinkhole lakes) which are visible from the surface, there are other undiscovered water sites beneath the pyramids, patios and temples, water being always central in importance for Chichen Itza, whose very name means “At the Mouth of the Well of the Water Priests” in Maya.
De Anda said that, most like the ancient Maya, his team had to crawl a few hundred meters on their bellies into the cave, which in some places is just 40cms tall, in hopes of finding the route to a cenote cave that is supposed to lie under the pyramid of Kukulkan.
“That is part of the reason why we are entering these sites, to find a connection to the cenote under the Castillo,” De Anda said.