By Stanislav Chládek
Exploring Maya Ritual Caves bargains an extraordinary survey and explication of lots of the identified old Maya ritual caves in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. The caves have been the Maya underworld, the place rituals, together with animal and human sacrifice, have been conducted. The Maya cave cult and mythology, building and amendment of the caves, and cult artwork and artifacts are mentioned. Chládek, an intrepid explorer, then describes vital caves that he has lately visited and gives images in their wonders.
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Extra resources for Exploring Maya Ritual Caves: Dark Secrets from the Maya Underworld
57). The Maya also conducted secondary burials, bringing to the caves whole or partial skeletons after removing the flesh from the bodies elsewhere. Although burials and sacrifices are sometimes difficult to distinguish, it is clear that many of the human remains found in caves are those of people who were sacrificed to appease the underworld deities. Distinguishing burials and sacrifices is further complicated by the action of underground waters, which move light human bones and obscure their original context.
4. Cenote Dzitnup, near Valladolid, Yucatán, Mexico. 5. Entryway to the temple in Chicanna, Campeche, Mexico. The temple doorway mimics the fanged mouth of the Earth (Witz) Monster, an entry into the sacred place. Cave Rituals It is unclear why some caves were more important to the Maya than others, or whether different ceremonies were conducted in different caves and what otherwise differentiated the caves. Certainly caves with underground water, either cenotes or rivers, were the most sacred.
5), and built the steps from speleothems. 6). As in surface sites, the Maya erected stone slabs, as stelae, in some caves. indb 40 6/20/11 10:43 AM Caves and the Maya / 41 because the Maya associated verticality with the status of sanctity. This is evident in Maya cities with their high temples and stelae. The vertical monuments demarcated holy areas and were erected in particular chambers reserved for elite rituals. Stalagmites and stalactites, with their natural verticality, were probably regarded by the Maya as sacred monuments.