The discovery that may change the history of Chichén Itzá

Deep underground, a team of archeologists stumbled upon a finding that could rewrite Mayan history.

By Alejandro Ruelas

Oct 3, 2019
Chichén Itzá, The Castle. Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash.

Sometimes, a single discovery can change history. This is what happened to a group of archeologists when they stumbled upon a finding that could potentially alter the known narrative of one of the world’s most famous archeological sites: Chichén Itzá.

Earlier this year, a team of researchers lead by Guillermo de Anda, a member of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, made an amazing discovery deep beneath the Mayan city.

Photo: Karla Ortega, INAH

They were exploring the vast cave network of the underground aquifer when they found something they didn’t expect. Inside a passage known as Balamkú, some three kilometers away from the famous pyramid known as The Castle, they came upon a collection of artifacts dating between 700 and 1000 A.D.

At least 200 pots, utensils, and ceramic censers were amongst the find. Perhaps one of the most interesting features were the figures modeled on some of the censers, which clearly resembled Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain. This could reveal a previously unknown link between the Mayan and the dominant culture of central Mexico.

Guillermo de Anda. Click to see the video.

If proven true, this connection could have significant implications for the understanding of the dynamics of pre-Hispanic cultures. It would mean deities traveled from distant settlements, possibly influencing Mayan faith and their interaction with the Aztecs. The unearthing also marks the beginning of a new chapter in the exploration of Chichén Itzá, with unknown ramifications. 

Many secrets are yet hidden under the dense jungle of the Yucatán Peninsula. There is an undetermined number of structures still covered by the canopy of the forest and many underground passages left unexplored. It is possible that history will rewrite itself as more discoveries emerge.

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