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Archaeologists Discover Mayan Chamber Untouched for 1000 Years

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 12, 2019

While exploring the ground underneath the ancient Mayan city of Chichén Itzá in Mexico, archaeologists found a ritual chamber stuffed with artifacts untouched for more than 1000 years.

Maya Untouched Cave

De Anda recalls pulling himself on his stomach through the tight tunnels of Balamku for hours before his headlamp illuminated something entirely unexpected: A cascade of offerings left by the ancient residents of Chichén Itzá, so perfectly preserved and untouched that stalagmites had formed around the incense burners, vases, decorated plates, and other objects in the cavern.

“I couldn’t speak, I started to cry. I’ve analyzed human remains in [Chichén Itzá’s] Sacred Cenote, but nothing compares to the sensation I had entering, alone, for the first time in that cave,” says de Anda, who is an investigator with INAH and director of the Great Maya Aquifer Project, which seeks to explore, understand, and protect the aquifer of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

“You almost feel the presence of the Maya who deposited these things in there,” he adds.

Oddly, the cave was explored by an archaeologist back in 1966, but he ordered the entrance sealed up and the chamber and the objects contained within were forgotten until now.