Along with being used for subsistance purposes, the cenotes and caves of the Yucatan held significant spiritual meaning in Mayan culture. They were thought of as entrances to the underworld, called Xibalba, where the Mayan gods and ancestors could be contacted by the living. Many sacred rituals and ceremonies were therefore held within these underground chambers because they were considered to be closer to divine and supernatural powers. It is for this same reason that many archaeologists speculate that cenotes were used as a site for human sacrifice and burial. Though numerous skeletal remains of ancient Mayans have been found within these structures, the notion of their use for such purposes is questionable. For one thing, the decomposition of bodies within centotes would have certainly contaminated the Mayan's only water source. In addition, many of the Mayan civilizations built around cenotes had been inhabited for hundreds of years, meaning that far more bodies would have been discovered had sacrifice and burial been a common practice within cenotes.
|Posted by yucatanmayanretreat on December 14, 2009 at 3:24 AM||2048 Views|