Maya Offered Sacrifices to End Drought at Water Temple in Belize

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Exploration of Belize's Cara Blanca pools has revealed an increase in rain god offerings during a time of drought.

Photograph by Tony Rath Photography

A recent article on National Geographic entitled "At Newly Discovered Water Temple, Maya Offered Sacrifices to End Drought" published on January 27th 2015 is propounding that the ancient Maya increased their rain god offerings during a time of drought at the edge of a sacred pool in Belize.

"At the Cara Blanca site in Belize, archaeologists report the discovery of a water temple complex: a small plaza holding the collapsed remnants of a lodge and two smaller structures. The main structure rests beside a deep pool where pilgrims offered sacrifices to the Maya water god, and perhaps to the demons of the underworld," writes Dan Vergano of National Geographic.

See also: Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave in Belize

According to the report, the Maya sacrificed pots, jars, and bowls to the temple pool's depth and the sacrifices came from different people across the region to pray for rain.

"The pilgrims came there to purify themselves and to make offerings," says University of Illinois archaeologist Lisa Lucero, who led the team that explored the ruins. She has plumbed the depths of the cenote, or natural pool, for four years, finding long-lost offerings of ceramics and stone tools in its depths. "It was a special place with a sacred function," she says.

Douglas Kennett, an anthropologist from Penn State reports that stalagmite records illustrate that high rainfall led to a Maya population boom that lasted until A.D. 660 however when the rain stopped, the kingdoms were weakened.

See also: Belize's Blue Hole Contains Sedimentary Evidence of Maya Collapse

The report goes on to say that the "repeated droughts unseated the Maya kings and their cities around A.D. 800 throughout Central America and that the shortfall in rain may have also sparked a "drought cult" of people who, eager to placate Chaak, left a spate of sacrifices at caves and cenotes across the suddenly desperate Maya realm".

Read the full report here:

Posted in Belize

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