A stunning discovery was recently made when archaeologist discovered a secret passageway beneath a 1,000-year-old Mayan pyramid. The finding could lead to further discoveries about the ancient civilization and their beliefs.
The passageway was discovered by researchers with the Great Mayan Aquifer Project. After learning of the Chichén Itzá passageway, they researched it with electrical tomography. Their goal was to discover cenotes — or water-filled caves — under the Kukulcan pyramid. As The Yucatan Times reports, it is believed the Mayans used cenotes as part of their human sacrifice rituals.
The pyramid devoted to Kukulcan, the Mayan snake god, was discovered by Spanish explorers in the 1500s. Archaeologists believe that further exploration of the passage will provide more information about the deity who bears the likeness of a feathered serpent and departed from a cave after an earthquake.
The team has not yet explored the passageway, as it is blocked by the Ossuary — a small burial chamber. Guillermo de Anda, a member of the Great Mayan Aquifer Project, spoke to El Universal about the blockage. “Through the Ossuary, we can enter the cave beneath the structure and there we found a blocked passageway, probably closed off by the ancient Mayans themselves,” he said. “We will enter again and this time we will try to open it to see if the passageway leads us to the entrance of the cenote beneath the pyramid.”
“First we want to prove it exists because no one has seen it, we only have the images; then we’d have to explore it,” Anda added.
The exploration was made possible by the National Geographic Society, the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History and James Brady — a researcher with California State University and expert in Mayan cave exploration.
Little is known of the mythology of the pre-Colombian deity. However, modern lore offers some insight. Stories are still being told about Kukulkan — the snake god — long the modern Yucatec Maya. Reportedly, in one tale, Kukulkan is a boy who was born as a snake. As he grew older, it was obvious that he was the plumed serpent. His sister cared for him in a cave but eventually, he grew to such a size that she was unable to feed him. So, he flew out of the cave and into the sea, causing an earthquake. Every year in July, he causes tremors to let his sister know that he is still alive.
Another story says Kukulkan was a winged serpent that flew to the sun and tried to speak to the celestial being. However, in his pride, he burnt his tongue. The same lore relates how Kukulkan always travels ahead of the Yucatec Maya rain god, Chaac. He helps predict the rain as his tail moves the winds and “sweeps the earth clean.”
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Sources: Business Insider