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Mon Aug 12, 2019, 10:29 PM

Skulls Analyzed From The Mayan Sacred Cenote Show That Human Sacrifices Were Sourced From Far And Wi

Skulls Analyzed From The Mayan Sacred Cenote Show That Human Sacrifices Were Sourced From Far And Wide Across Mexico

Carly Miller Contributor

Mayan mask sculpture at the pyramids of Copan, Honduras.MARTIN E HILL PHOTOGRAPHY (2010)

Tooth enamel from the skulls of 1000-year-old Mayan human sacrifices were isotopically analyzed with the goal of elucidating the provenance of the owners of those teeth. The study published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology Magazine in July of 2019 by T. Douglas Price et al. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that the birthplaces of the individuals varied from near their final resting places in the still waters of the Sacred Cenote (pronounced say-NO-tay) and from far across Mexico and beyond, indicating that the Mayan network extended across thousands of miles. The 60m wide natural limestone sinkhole at Chichén Itzá on the Yucatan Peninsula is a known Mayan repository for sacrifices, both human and otherwise. The historic and hallowed site was dredged at the turn of the 20th century, surrendering jade, copper, gold, textiles, pottery, weapons, other domestic objects, and the bones of over 200 men, women and children that had been offered up by the Postclassic Mayan occupants of the influential city.

The Postclassic period of Maya archeology, AD 900-1542, corresponds with a time of growth in Chichén, according to radiocarbon dating of hieroglyphics assemblages. The city likely attracted immigrants from across Mexico during its rise and period of regional dominance and may have reached a population of 50,000 inhabitants within its 300 hectare area. The city underwent regional and exotic influence as it grew in importance and size, evidenced by the architecture, ceramics, and inscriptions found at the site. Trade routes throughout the Yucatan expanded, presumably opening the city to influence from the central and southern lowlands of Mexico, parts of Central America, and along the Gulf Coast. Chichén Itzá remained a major cultural and economic center for over 200 years, after which the inhabitants seem to have disseminated, the reasons for which are unknown but conjectured to include conflict, European influence, or climate, according to previous historical studies on the area. During its fluorescence, the city was comprised of numerous temples, a marketplace called the “Court of the Thousand Columns,” two ceremonial platforms, carvings and sculptures, a major pyramid structure called “El Castillo,” and several ball courts. A raised walkway led directly, 300m (980 ft) almost due north, from El Castillo to the Sacred Cenote. Another natural sinkhole, Xtoloc Cenote, resembles an open well adjacent to the city, but did not contain offerings of any kind. It seems that all sinkholes were not created equally in the Mayan culture. Some were considered sacred, believed to be a passage to the underworld, and others were accessed for freshwater and civilian needs.

The Yucatan is spotted with thousands of cenotes. The peninsula is a limestone shelf that was deposited under a rising sea. The catastrophic meteor that ended life on Earth as the dinosaurs knew it and marked the end of the Mesozoic Era reached ground zero at the northwest point of the modern day Yucatan Peninsula, very near Chichén Itzá. The Chicxulub crater is ultimately the physiographic record of the event that caused the warming trend and sea level rise over the subsequent millennia that submerged the region in a transgressive sea. The Yucatan began accumulating layers of marine limestone that culminated as one of the largest limestone platforms on Earth. The chemical composition of limestone renders it susceptible to dissolution, and when the sea level dropped again during the Ice Ages, the platform was aerially exposed. As fresh water flowed through the subsurface, it dissolved portions of the limestone, creating the cavernous cenotes, which can look like a pool, a cave, or an open well like the ones at Chichén Itzá. The cenotes are a vital lifeline to the arid region, providing freshwater to the occupants of the area where there are no above-ground rivers or lakes. Like the Mayans, modern day tourists and locals can enjoy the natural pools, explore the caves and seek spiritual enlightenment in the clear still waters and fossil-decorated limestone of the cenotes.


Sacred Cenote in Chichén Itzá

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Reply Skulls Analyzed From The Mayan Sacred Cenote Show That Human Sacrifices Were Sourced From Far And Wi (Original post)
Judi Lynn Aug 2019 OP
John1956PA Aug 2019 #1
Judi Lynn Aug 2019 #2
John1956PA Aug 2019 #3
Judi Lynn Aug 2019 #4

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Aug 13, 2019, 04:03 AM

1. The cenote was the location of a memorable scene in the movie "Against All Odds" (1984).

The DVD of the movie contains a cache of unused footage, one item of which makes reference to the human sacrifices at the cenote.

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Response to John1956PA (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 03:41 AM

2. It would be wonderful getting a chance to see the location shots in the DVD.

There aren't too many opportunities to see anything about that area without going there.

Thanks for the information on the scenery. I've never seen a cenote in a film, that would be exceptional.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #2)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 04:51 AM

3. A few YouTube music videos regarding the movie show brief snips of the centone.

Thank you for your reply to my post. I am always happy to share information about the movie Against All Odds which I find to be interesting on several levels.

The link to one of the videos regarding the movie is y outube.com/watch?v=Qa1AqKxakRM . (When pasting the link, condense the "y" with the rest of the characters.) The scene is from 2:24 to 2:26.

The movie was one of the first Hollywood releases to feature on-location scenes from the Yukatan. In the commentary in the DVD released at the 15th anniversary of the film, director Taylor Hackford states that, when he pitched the concept of filming in the Yucatán, studio executives were unaware of the region. The Yucatán portion of of movie is about a half hour in length and quite scenic. As shown in the video mentioned above, El Castillo at Chichen Itza is one of the filming sites. Some of the plot is set on the island of Cozumel, but the director used the island of Isla Mujeres for those scenes.

Best wishes.

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Response to John1956PA (Reply #3)

Wed Aug 14, 2019, 09:15 PM

4. The film had the cenote, and the astonishing architecture, also!

It would be a great experience to see all the discarded footage of the area they didn't include, for brevity's sake. Such an amazing area, so much valuable history played out, so much destroyed, unfortunately, by the invaders, land thieves, in the arrival of the "superior" race.

Would be wonderful to see the architecture as well as the features like the cenote. So much to learn all placed in one spot.

Thank you for the link to the look at the video! It's beautiful.

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