In Mexico, archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) infiltrated the so-called temple of the stalagmites, located in one of the caves in the resort area of Playa del Carmen. This place was considered by the Mayans to be the entrance to the afterlife.
The discovery is reported in the INAH newsletter. The cave, which housed the stalagmites temple, is part of an extensive network of underground archaeological sites. Excavations started in August last year.
In Mayan legends, this temple is referred to as the entrance to the underworld, where the dead live. This place was considered sacred along with the neighboring caves. The Maya believed that it was here that deities were born - the patrons of water, fertility and trade.
During the research, scientists have discovered many artifacts, ranging from an ancient altar for worshiping the gods and ending with simple products made of clay and bone. Drawings were found on the walls.
According to researchers, such temples began to appear when the Mayan civilization faced serious problems. For example, a popular theory is that a prolonged drought has led to a sharp decline in the population of the cities of this people.
"Entrances to the Underworld" were made to solve the problems that arose. The Maya entered these temples to give their offerings to the deities in the hope of their help and to seek advice from their deceased ancestors.
In their work, archaeologists note that part of the temple is currently flooded with water. A detailed examination was carried out in its dry part. By the way, the altar is located 20 meters from the cave entrance. You can see traces of processing on it - probably the Maya in ancient times rebuilt or transferred it more than once.
Fragments of pottery from the late Classic Maya period, an obsidian knife and two human teeth were found five meters from the altar. It is possible that the cave was also used for human sacrifices.
At the entrance to it there was a small building, built in the pre-Hispanic period from limestone and covered with plaster. It was painted blue - the remains of the paint have survived to this day. Its architectural style is also typical of the late classical period. The façade had a narrow entrance facing west.
Analysis of the building showed that it was destroyed in antiquity. Research in the cave will continue.