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Mexican & Central American Archaeological Finds

ramonmercado

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Cantona culture, human sacrifice. Hmmm...

Mexican experts find ancient blood on stone knives
http://phys.org/news/2012-05-mexican-ex ... stone.html
May 3rd, 2012 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

(AP) - Traces of blood and fragments of muscle, tendon, skin and hair found on 2,000-year-old stone knives have given researchers the first conclusive evidence that the obsidian blades were used for human sacrifice so long ago in Mexico.

Researchers had long seen cut marks on ancient bones that appeared to suggest varied practices of dismembering victims in many pre-Hispanic cultures, but the find announced Wednesday positively identifies the sort of actual knives that were used in the ancient rituals.

Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History said the finding clearly corroborates accounts from later cultures about the use of such knives to cut out hearts or cut up bodies.

Researchers in Mexico had noticed what they believed were fossilized blood stains on stone knives as long as 20 years ago. But the institute said it took a methodical examination using a scanning electron microscope to positively identify the human tissues on 31 knives from the Cantona site in the central Mexico state of Puebla.

The collection of stone knives is from the little-known Cantona culture, which flourished at about the same time as the mysterious city-state of Teotihuacan. Cantona preceded by more than 1,000 years the region's most famous human sacrifice practitioners, the Aztecs.

The archaeologists who found the knives gave them to researcher Luisa Mainou at the anthropology institute's restoration laboratories about two years ago. With help from specialists at Mexico's National Autonomous University, they were studied under the scanning electronic microscope and found to contain red blood cells, collagen, tendon and muscle fiber fragments.

While historical accounts from Aztec times, as well as drawings and paintings from earlier cultures, had long suggested that priests used knives and other instruments for non-life-threatening bloodletting rituals, the presence of the muscle and tendon traces indicates the cuts were deep and intended to sever portions of the victim's body.

"These finds confirm that the knives were used for sacrifices," Mainou said.
Susan Gillespie, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Florida who was not involved in the research project, said it was the first time to her knowledge that such tissue remains had been identified on obsidian knives.

"This is a compelling demonstration that these knives were used to cut human flesh," Gillespie said in an email.

She said other studies have found trace elements of organic remains such as food on ancient artifacts, so "with the right conditions such remains can preserve for long periods."

Gillespie said human sacrifice practices either described by the Spanish conquerors or depicted in pre-Conquest paintings include heart removal, decapitation, dismemberment, disemboweling and skinning of victims.
Interestingly, the find announced Wednesday has already begun to shed some new light on the murky sacrifice practices of pre-Hispanic cultures, which believed that human blood was a sort of vital liquid needed to keep the cosmos in balance.

For example, some knives in the test had more traces of red blood cells, while others had more skin, and others more muscle or collagen, "which suggest that each cutting tool was used for a different purpose, according to its form," Mainou said.

Gillespie said the find also suggested the intriguing possibility that the sacrificial knives were ritually deposited, unwashed, in some special site after being used.

The Spanish conquerors have long been suspected of perhaps exaggerating accounts of mass human sacrifice in pre-Hispanic cultures, to make their Indian subjects appear more brutal and less deserving of sympathy.

"The archaeological confirmation of human sacrifice is important both for supporting or contesting the many post-conquest historical accounts and pre-conquest imagery of sacrifice," Gillespie wrote.
 
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Archaeologists have found a temple to the ‘Flayed Lord’ in Mexico
By Lizzie WadeJan. 4, 2019 , 1:05 PM

One thousand years ago in what is now the Mexican state of Puebla, priests sacrificed captives, flayed their bodies, and donned their skins in a ritual dedicated to the god Xipe Tótec, or the “Flayed Lord.” Now, archaeologists have found the first temple dedicated to that deity at a site called Ndachjian-Tehuacán, The New York Times reports. The temple, built between 1000 and 1260 by the Popoloca people, contains two altars—likely one for the sacrifice and one for the flaying. Skins of victims may have also been stored there in between rituals, which were related to agricultural renewal and fertility. Sculptures of Xipe Tótec from the temple show his fleshless, grinning skull and, separately, his torso with an extra hand dangling off one arm (above), indicating that the god was wearing the skin of a sacrificial victim.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/201...ly_2019-01-07&et_rid=394299689&et_cid=2587461
 
An interesting find which provides follow on clues.

An ancient Native American sauna, dating back to the 14th Century, has been uncovered by archaeologists in Mexico City.

Central components of the sweat lodge where the tub or steam bath pool was located are still intact, according to Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History. Known as temazcals, these structures were built by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica, and used for medicinal purposes, spiritual rituals and for women to give birth.

The discovery in the historic La Merced neighbourhood helped experts to determine the exact location of Temazcaltitlán, one of the first areas of Tenochtitlán, the ancient metropolis that became modern-day Mexico City.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-51205284
 
Those ball games are really ancient.

In 2015, archaeologists Jeffrey Blomster and Víctor Salazar Chávez began excavating the Mexican site of Etlatongo, a 3400-year-old village in the mountains of Oaxaca.

They chose a spot in the center of the site, one that appeared to be an important public space. But instead of finding anything resembling a palace or a temple, the team unearthed a flat stone floor that extended at least 46 meters (about half the length of a soccer field), flanked by low steps made from clay and stone. Mounds at least 1 meter tall enclosed this narrow area on either side.

After several years of excavations and mapping, the scientists now conclude that the mysterious structure was a court used in a famous ballgame once played all over Mesoamerica. This court’s early date may point to the game’s important role in helping Mesoamerican societies develop social hierarchies and political complexity.

Radiocarbon dates show the Etlatongo court was constructed between 1443 and 1305 B.C.E. The court was used for about 175 years and remodeled once during that time, Salazar Chávez and Blomster—both at George Washington University, report today in Science Advances. The only older known ball court is at the site of Paso de la Amada in the Mexican state of Chiapas, built about 1650 B.C.E.

Although the exact game played at the time is unclear, many later versions resembled a combination of soccer and basketball that employed the hips: Players bounced rubber balls off their hips and through hoops mounted high on the court’s walls. The Etlatongo court doesn’t include hoops; at this early date, the game may have been more like hip-volleyball.

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/202...ly_2020-03-13&et_rid=394299689&et_cid=3244539
 
The first victims of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade?

In the late 1980s, workers excavating a new subway line in downtown Mexico City stumbled upon a long-lost cemetery.

Documents showed it had once been connected to a colonial hospital built between 1529 and 1531—only about 10 years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico—for Indigenous patients. As archaeologists excavated the buried skeletons, three stood out. Their teeth were filed into shapes similar to those of enslaved Africans from Portugal and people living in parts of West Africa. Now, chemical and genetic analyses confirm these individuals were among the first generation of Africans to arrive in the Americas, likely as early victims of the burgeoning transatlantic slave trade.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, tens of thousands of enslaved and free Africans lived in Mexico. Today, almost all Mexicans carry a small amount of African ancestry. Rodrigo Barquera, a graduate student in archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, suspected the remains might offer a window into lives often left out of historical records. To confirm their origins, he and his adviser Johannes Krause extracted DNA and analyzed chemical isotopes, including strontium, carbon, and nitrogen, from their teeth. Their DNA revealed that all three were men with ancestry from West Africa. (Researchers couldn’t connect them to particular countries or groups.) And the ratios of the chemicals in their teeth, which preserve a signature of the food and water they consumed as children, were consistent with West African ecosystems, the researchers report today in Current Biology. “It’s really nice to see how well the different lines of evidence come together,” says Anne Stone, an anthropological geneticist at Arizona State University, Tempe, who wasn’t involved with the research.

All three skeletons show signs of trauma and violence. The men were likely in their late 20s or early 30s when they died. Before that, one man survived several gunshot wounds, and he and another man showed a thinning of their skull bones associated with malnutrition and anemia. The third man’s skeleton showed signatures of stress from grueling physical labor, including a poorly healed broken leg. These signs of abuse make it likely that the men were enslaved rather than free, Krause says. ...

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/04/three-men-were-buried-mexico-500-years-ago-dna-and-bones-reveal-their-stories
 
Heya Ramonmercado, have you heard much about the supposed discovery of La Ciudad Blanca in the Mosquitia region of Honduras? I only ask as you seem to be very interested in Central American archaeology, and if you haven't bumped into it you will likely enjoy what you find, and if you do know about it, perhaps you have found an article or doco that covers it adequately. For my money, I haven't yet, but I know the info is out there.
 
Heya Ramonmercado, have you heard much about the supposed discovery of La Ciudad Blanca in the Mosquitia region of Honduras? I only ask as you seem to be very interested in Central American archaeology, and if you haven't bumped into it you will likely enjoy what you find, and if you do know about it, perhaps you have found an article or doco that covers it adequately. For my money, I haven't yet, but I know the info is out there.

Not my speciality subject but there is an interesting NG article, I think it might be on a thread here already:
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2015/10/lost-city-mosquitia-honduras-monkey-god/
 
Recent findings indicate the now-flooded Yucatan caves in which human remains have been found represent ocher / ochre mines.
Experts find early ocher mine in Mexican underwater caves

Experts and cave divers in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula have found ocher mines that are some of the oldest on the continent, which could explain why ancient skeletons were found in the narrow, twisting labyrinths of now-submerged sinkhole caves.

Since skeletal remains like “Naia,” a young woman who died 13,000 years ago, were found over the last 15 years, archaeologists have wondered how they wound up in the then-dry caves. About 8,000 years ago, rising sea levels flooded the caves, known as cenotes, around the Caribbean coast resort of Tulum.

Had these early inhabitants fallen in, or did they go down intentionally seeking shelter, food or water? Nine sets of human skeletal remains have been found in the underwater caves, whose passages can be barely big enough to squeeze through, ...

Recent discoveries of about 900 meters (0.5 miles) of ocher mines suggest they may have had a more powerful attraction. The discovery of remains of human-set fires, stacked mining debris, simple stone tools, navigational aids and digging sites suggest humans went into the caves around 10,000 to 12,000 years ago, seeking iron-rich red ocher, which early peoples in the Americas prized for decoration and rituals. ...

FULL STORY: https://apnews.com/20ea1b11f4c3402903a8552c18056456

See Also:

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/underwater-caves-ochre-mines-yucatan-peninsula
 
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Aztec skull tower: Archaeologists unearth new sections in Mexico City.


Archaeologists have excavated more sections of an extraordinary Aztec tower of human skulls under the centre of Mexico City.
Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said a further 119 skulls had been uncovered.
The tower was discovered in 2015 during the restoration of a building in the Mexican capital.
It is believed to be part of a skull rack from the temple to the Aztec god of the sun, war and human sacrifice.
Known as the Huey Tzompantli, the skull rack stood on the corner of the chapel of Huitzilopochtli, the patron of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan.
The Aztecs were a group of Nahuatl-speaking peoples that dominated large parts of central Mexico from the 14th to the 16th centuries.
Their empire was overthrown by invaders led by the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, who captured Tenochtitlan in 1521.
(C) BBC. '20
 
I think this fits here.

A 50-page codex of colorful, complex pictograms that dates to the early 16th century includes the most complete — and one of the oldest — written chronologies of early earthquakes in the Americas.

The Telleriano-Remensis, which was created by an unknown pre-Hispanic civilization, describes 12 separate earthquakes that rocked what’s now Mexico and Central America from 1460 to 1542, researchers report August 25 in Seismological Research Letters. The famous codex was written by specialists called tlacuilos, meaning “those who write painting” in the Nahuatl language spoken by Aztecs and other pre-Hispanic civilizations in the area (SN: 3/13/20).

Using other codices from the region, researchers had previously identified the combination of two pictographs that denotes an earthquake. One shows four helices around a central circle or eye, and stands for ollin, meaning “movement” in Nahuatl. The other pictograph shows one or more rectangular layers filled with dots, and means tlalli, or “earth.” For daytime earthquakes, the eye is open; for nighttime quakes, it’s closed. ...

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/earthquake-pictogram-oldest-known-account-americas
 
It will likely take decades to fully explore and evaluate these new finds.

Scientists have uncovered nearly 500 Mesoamerican monuments in southern Mexico using an airborne laser mapping technology called lidar.

Dating as far back as 3000 years ago, the structures—still buried beneath vegetation—include huge artificial plateaus that may have been used for ceremonial gatherings and other religious events.

“The sheer number of sites they found is staggering,” says Thomas Garrison, an archeologist at the University of Texas, Austin, who was not involved in the work. “The study is going to be the inspiration for hopefully decades of research at these different settlements.”

The team’s effort stemmed from its smaller scale lidar survey and excavation of the oldest and largest Maya structure ever found, reported in Nature last year. The ancient Maya civilization occupied southern Mexico and parts of Central America and is renowned for its striking pyramids, written language, and calendar system. That site, dubbed Aguada Fénix, was dated to 1000 to 800 B.C.E., and contained an artificial plateau 1400 meters long and up to 15 meters high. This plateau had 10 smaller platforms flanking either side for a total of 20—the basis for many Mesoamerican cultures’ number system.

https://www.science.org/content/art...uments-revealed-laser-mapping-many-first-time
 

Human blood found in red paint used on 1,000-year-old gold mask found in Peru


Traces of human blood have been discovered in the red paint that decorated a gold mask found on the remains of an elite man who died 1,000 years ago in Peru, a new analysis reveals.

Human-BLOOD-found-in-red-paint-used-on-1000-year-old-gold.jpg


The man, who was between 40 and 50 years old at the time of his death, lived during the Sicán that spanned from 750 A.D. to 1375 – an era known for its dazzling array of gold objects, many of which were buried in tombs of the elite class.

The tomb was originally unearthed in the 1990s and archaeologists at the time concluded the red paint cinnabar, a brick-red form of mercury, but the effective organic binder remained a mystery – until now.

Scientists, led by Izumi Shimada, founder of the Sicán Archaeological Project, reassessed the ancient burial mask and found unique peptides that match human blood and bird egg proteins.

‘The presence of human blood would support previous ideas that red cinnabar paint may represent ‘life force’ intended to support ‘rebirth.’

https://australiannewsreview.com/hu...sed-on-1000-year-old-gold-mask-found-in-peru/

maximus otter
 
Canoe, other artifacts and murals found.

Archaeologists have discovered a wooden Mayan canoe in southern Mexico, believed to be over 1,000 years old.

Measuring over 5ft (1.6m), it was found almost completely intact, submerged in a freshwater pool near the ruined Mayan city of Chichen Itza. Mexico's antiquities institute (Inah) says it may have been used to extract water or deposit ritual offers. The rare find came during construction work on a new tourist railway known as the Maya Train.

In a statement, the Inah said archaeologists had also discovered ceramics, a ritual knife and painted murals of hands on a rockface in the pool, known as a cenote. Experts from Paris's Sorbonne University have been helping with pin-pointing the canoe's exact age and type, the statement said. A 3D model of it would also be made to allow replicas to be made, and to facilitate further study, it added.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-59101592
 

How Did Ancient Aztecs Use the Haunting Aztec Death Whistle?


Buried beneath the streets and plazas of modern-day Mexico City are the ruins of ancient Aztec temples where human sacrifices were routinely performed to appease the gods. In the late 1990s, while excavating a circular temple dedicated to Ehecatl, the Aztec wind god, archeologists uncovered the remains of a 20-year-old boy, beheaded and squatting at the base of the temple's main stairway.

What made the Mexico City discovery so remarkable was that the skeleton of the human sacrifice was found clutching a pair of musical instruments in each hand. They were small, ceramic whistles decorated with a menacing skull's face. As the archeologists quickly realized, the skull image represented Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec god of the underworld and of death itself.

aztec-death-whistle-3.jpg


Today, if you Google "Aztec death whistle," you'll find articles claiming that the "haunting shrieks" of the death whistle were used to "terrify" the Aztecs' enemies in battle or to mimic the agonizing cries of sacrificial victims as their living hearts were torn from their chests.

FF to 2:25 for the meat & potatoes:


But the sober truth, experts say, is that we know very little about how the Aztecs really used these intriguing instruments or even how the instruments actually sounded when played by an ancient Aztec priest or musician.

What we can safely infer from the find in Mexico City, is that death whistles undoubtedly had ritual and ceremonial significance, and that they may have been used to guide the spirits of the dead through the afterlife.

https://history.howstuffworks.com/world-history/aztec-death-whistle.htm

maximus otter
 
The cave system is now at riske from the Maya Train.

A prehistoric human skeleton has been found in a cave system that was flooded at the end of the last ice age 8,000 years ago, according to a cave-diving archaeologist on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.

Octavio del Rio said he and fellow diver Peter Broger saw the shattered skull and skeleton partly covered by sediment in a cave near where the Mexican government plans to build a high-speed tourist train through the jungle.


Given the distance from the cave entrance, the skeleton could not have gotten there without modern diving equipment so must be over 8,000 years old, Del Rio said, referring to the era when rising sea levels flooded the caves.

“There it is. We don’t know if the body was deposited there or if that was where this person died,” said Del Rio.

He said the skeleton was located about 26 feet underwater, about one third of a mile into the cave system.

Some of the oldest human remains in North America have been discovered in the sinkhole caves known as cenotes on the country’s Caribbean coast, and experts say some of those caves are threatened by the Mexican government’s Maya Train tourism project.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/...ico-cave-flooded-ice-age-maya-train-rcna47638
 

Ancient city hidden for 2,000 years is discovered in forest

The remains of a sprawling Mayan settlement hiding beneath the rainforest in Guatemala have been discovered using laser technology.

The research was carried out using an aerial survey with LiDAR technology. In a nutshell, lasers were beamed down from the plane and the reflected light constructed an image of the landscape.

The area covers a massive 650 square miles across the Mirador-Calakmul Karst Basin region, near the border with Mexico.
According to archaeologists, the city would have existed 2,000 years ago and consisted of nearly 1,000 settlements interconnected by a hundred miles of causeways. The Mayans would have used these causeways to move around the area. The team also came across the remains of platforms and pyramids.

Reservoirs and canals were also found, which would have been used for water collection.

While past studies suggested that Mesoamerican settlements here were sparsly populated, this new research shows they were densely packed.

What’s more, the researchers found that some of the settlements had ball courts next to them – suggesting that ancient people would have played some kind of sport there.
1673644957567.png


Full report at Cambridge Uni Press
 

Ancient city hidden for 2,000 years is discovered in forest

The remains of a sprawling Mayan settlement hiding beneath the rainforest in Guatemala have been discovered using laser technology.

The research was carried out using an aerial survey with LiDAR technology. In a nutshell, lasers were beamed down from the plane and the reflected light constructed an image of the landscape.

The area covers a massive 650 square miles across the Mirador-Calakmul Karst Basin region, near the border with Mexico.

View attachment 62446

Full report at Cambridge Uni PrPress
I hiked out to El Mirador and some neighbouring sites deep in the rainforest in 2000, the whole area is covered in ruins. There can't have been much jungle at the height of the classic Maya civilization.
 
Living among the ruins.

Around 500 C.E., a new government arose in the community now called Río Viejo, near the coast of the Mexican state of Oaxaca.

It was once the largest city in the region, but it had shrunk by half and lost its political authority. The new rulers aimed to step into that power vacuum. But they had one problem: the ruins of a complex of ceremonial buildings built by Río Viejo’s last centralized government centuries earlier. When that government collapsed, the temples and plazas had been ritually burned and left to decay, a reminder that hierarchical rulership had already failed once in Río Viejo. How would the new leaders manage the threat it posed?

Arthur Joyce, an archaeologist at the University of Colorado (CU), Boulder, has found they did so by putting their stamp on the ruins with a massive offering and portraits of themselves, set on top of the eroded surface of the old buildings. “These new rulers may have been trying to assert control over this thing that by its very existence would have questioned the inevitability and legitimacy of their power,” Joyce says.

Previous generations of researchers tended to treat the massive ruins that dot Mexico and Central America as “inconsequential” in the lives of the people who lived nearby in later periods, Joyce says. Once a site emptied out and started to crumble, archaeologists typically concluded its importance had faded for people in the past. But a growing number are now recognizing that for people in precolonial Mesoamerica, “ruins, ancient objects, and ancestors were active parts of their communities,” says Roberto Rosado-Ramirez, an archaeologist at Northwestern University.

In a session he and Joyce are organizing at this week’s conference of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) in Portland, Oregon, researchers will share new findings and ideas about ruins’ roles in ancient Mesoamerican communities. “People in the past had their own past,” says Christina Halperin, an archaeologist at the University of Montreal. By looking at how people interacted with the ruins around them, archaeologists can get a glimpse of how those communities conceived of their own history. ...

https://www.science.org/content/article/ancient-people-lived-among-ruins-too-what-did-they-make-them
 
Archaeologists may have found ruins of fabled entrance to Zapotec underworld

Spanish missionaries deemed Lyobaa to be a "back door to hell" and sealed all entrances.

In 1674, a priest named Francisco de Burgoa published his account of visiting the ruins of the Zapotec city of Mitla in what is now Oaxaca in southern Mexico. He described a vast underground temple with four interconnected chambers, the last of which featured a stone door leading into a deep cavern. The Zapotec believed this to be the entrance to the underworld known as Lyobaa ("place of rest"). Burgoa claimed that Spanish missionaries who explored the ruins sealed all entrances to the temple, and local lore has long held that the entrance lies under the main altar of a Catholic church built over the ruins.

An international team of archaeologists recently announced that they found evidence for this fabled underground labyrinth under the ruins—right where the legends said it should be—after conducting scans of the site using ground penetrating radar (GPR), electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), and seismic noise tomography (SNT).

mitla2.jpg


Seismic tomography scan of the Church Group at the frequency of 4.76 Hz, revealing areas of low velocity (in blue) that could indicate the presence of underground chambers or natural cavities.

Per Burgoa, the first underground chamber served as a chapel; the second was where the high priests were buried; the third was where the kings were buried, along with their luxurious worldly goods; and the fourth featured a door at the rear which purportedly led to "a dark and gruesome room." A stone slab covered the entrance. "Through this door they threw the bodies of the victims of the great lords and chieftains who had fallen in battle," Burgoa wrote. It seems that certain "zealous prelates" decided to explore the underground structures, carrying lighted torches and using ropes as guides to ensure they didn't get lost. They encountered "putrefaction," foul odors, and "poisonous reptiles," among other horrors.

Once back above ground, the explorers walled up what they considered to be a "back door to hell." An archbishop ordered Mitla destroyed in 1553, and the stone blocks and other rubble were used to build various Spanish Catholic churches.

https://arstechnica.com/science/202...ins-of-fabled-entrance-to-zapotec-underworld/

maximus otter
 
Archaeologists may have found ruins of fabled entrance to Zapotec underworld

Spanish missionaries deemed Lyobaa to be a "back door to hell" and sealed all entrances.

In 1674, a priest named Francisco de Burgoa published his account of visiting the ruins of the Zapotec city of Mitla in what is now Oaxaca in southern Mexico. He described a vast underground temple with four interconnected chambers, the last of which featured a stone door leading into a deep cavern. The Zapotec believed this to be the entrance to the underworld known as Lyobaa ("place of rest"). Burgoa claimed that Spanish missionaries who explored the ruins sealed all entrances to the temple, and local lore has long held that the entrance lies under the main altar of a Catholic church built over the ruins.

An international team of archaeologists recently announced that they found evidence for this fabled underground labyrinth under the ruins—right where the legends said it should be—after conducting scans of the site using ground penetrating radar (GPR), electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), and seismic noise tomography (SNT).

mitla2.jpg


Seismic tomography scan of the Church Group at the frequency of 4.76 Hz, revealing areas of low velocity (in blue) that could indicate the presence of underground chambers or natural cavities.

Per Burgoa, the first underground chamber served as a chapel; the second was where the high priests were buried; the third was where the kings were buried, along with their luxurious worldly goods; and the fourth featured a door at the rear which purportedly led to "a dark and gruesome room." A stone slab covered the entrance. "Through this door they threw the bodies of the victims of the great lords and chieftains who had fallen in battle," Burgoa wrote. It seems that certain "zealous prelates" decided to explore the underground structures, carrying lighted torches and using ropes as guides to ensure they didn't get lost. They encountered "putrefaction," foul odors, and "poisonous reptiles," among other horrors.

Once back above ground, the explorers walled up what they considered to be a "back door to hell." An archbishop ordered Mitla destroyed in 1553, and the stone blocks and other rubble were used to build various Spanish Catholic churches.

https://arstechnica.com/science/202...ins-of-fabled-entrance-to-zapotec-underworld/

maximus otter
I've been to Mitla... amazing place.
 
Traces of hallucinogenic plants and chile peppers found at Maya ball court suggest rituals took place there

A bundle of botanicals buried at an ancient Maya ball court in Mexico may have been placed there as part of a ritual, according to a new study.

UPAEw8GpNSb5dmCMUXHx8T-1920-80.jpg.webp


A limestone Maya panel found in Guatemala depicting ball players. (Image credit: Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund; Art Institute Chicago

Archaeologists made the discovery while conducting fieldwork in what was once the ancient Maya city of Yaxnohcah, on the Yucatán Peninsula. During excavations, they noticed a dark stain in the soil and collected samples.

Analysis revealed that the stain was actually the remnants of four types of plants, all of which have known "religious associations and medicinal properties" and were often used by the Maya.

The botanicals included a morning glory known as xtabentun, which has hallucinogenic properties, as well as lancewood and chile peppers. The plants were then wrapped in the leaves of the jool plant — a common step in Maya rituals.

"For the Maya, chile peppers were more than just a condiment and were often used in rituals and had medicinal applications," Lentz said. "Xtabentun has similar physiological effects as LSD, and we've seen evidence of its use in a ceremonial context. It turns out that this was a ceremonial bundle."

https://www.livescience.com/archaeo...ed-their-ballcourts-with-ceremonial-offerings

maximus otter
 
Rituals = typical weekend for stoners these days.
 
Rituals = typical weekend for stoners these days.
Except Mesoamerican rituals generally involved bloodletting, your own or someone else's. It annoys me when wasters think they're being "shamanic" by taking hallucinogens. In Mesoamerica and elsewhere, it was within a whole religious framework and mythological worldview, following strict protocols and usually in sacred places.
 
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