Mexican archaeologists were searching for a sacred well when they instead discovered a cave at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza that contained over 150 ceramic artifacts. What’s even more interesting is that the vessels have been untouched for over a thousand years and are believed to date back around 1000 AD. In addition to the ceramic objects, there were also bone fragments and burnt offering materials that are currently being analyzed.
Archaeologist Guillermo de Anda said that after local Maya residents told experts about the location, exploration of the cave started last year in 2018. Around 50 years ago, the cave was discovered by locals but nobody went in to explore it. The locals did, however, report their findings to an archaeologist but he ordered that the cave be sealed and the only thing that was documented on it was a short report that was put in government archives.
The cave is called Balamku and it’s located around 2.75 kilometres east of the main pyramid which is named Kukulkan, or El Castillo (also known as “The Castle”).
Of the 155 found artifacts, which include incense burners, ceramic braziers, and clay boxes, some of them appear to have the face of Tlaloc who is central Mexico’s rain god. While the Mayas had their own rain god called Chaac, it’s possible that they could have brought over Tlaloc from additional pre-Hispanic cultures.
The objects that were found inside of the cave were offerings brought in by the ancient Mayas who were asking for rain. And it wasn’t an easy task to bring the artifacts to the location, as they had to crawl on their stomachs through a very narrow cave in order to get to a few bigger chambers where they placed their offerings. The team said that they plan to leave all the artifacts inside of the cave.
The archaeological team is examining Chichen Itza to figure out the routes and sites of the underground water system. While several cenotes (or sinkhole lakes) can be seen at the site, there are additional water sites that are located underneath the temples, patios, and pyramids that have yet to be discovered. Interestingly enough, “Chichen Itza” translates to “at the mouth of the well of the Water Wizards” in Maya.
Experts have already crawled into the cave (some areas which are only 40 centimetres in height), but have only gotten to around a few hundred metres in so far. They are hoping to find a connection to a cenote cave which they think is located underneath the Pyramid of Kukulkan. “Let’s hope this leads us there. That is part of the reason why we are entering these sites, to find a connection to the cenote under the Castillo,” de Anda expressed.