The bones of six humans—including two children—jade beads, shells, and stone tools are among the Maya “treasures” recently found in a water-filled cave off a sinkhole at the famous archaeological site of Chichén Itzá in Mexico, archaeologists say.
The ancient objects are most likely related to a ritual human sacrifice during a time when water levels were lower, sometime between A.D. 850 and 1250, the researchers say. Read more.
Today marked the final day of what was supposed to be the last week of archaeological digging ever at the Pipe Creek Junior Quarry’s Sinkhole near Marion, a source of bones dating back millions of years. However, because the site has so much material to be processed, more digs are planned.
In 1996, Irving Materials workers noticed bone fragments in sedimentary muck that was dug from a 50-foot-deep pocket in a limestone deposit. In 1998, paleontologists from IPFW and the Indiana State Museum began their first dig.
The Pipe Creek Junior Sinkhole is now considered by various sources as “one of the most important paleontological sites east of the Mississippi River due to preservation.” Thousands of bones belonging to giant tortoises, camels as large as giraffes, bears, dogs, rodents and big cats have been found at the site. One especially rare find was that of a teleoceras, or water rhinoceros. The remains in the sinkhole are from the Pliocene Era, which dates from about 5.3 to 1.8 million years ago. Read more.
Mexico City – Mexican archaeologists exploring a sinkhole cave, or “cenote,” in the Yucatan Peninsula pre-Columbian site of Chichen Itza discovered a funerary offering consisting of six human bones as well as vessels, jade beads, knives and other artifacts.
“According to experts, the offering was made as a rain-invoking ritual in the 9th and 10th centuries, when the Maya had suffered two periods of drought,” the National Institute of Anthropology and History, or INAH, said in a statement.
The objects were found “carefully and selectively placed” at the bottom of a flooded cave that is linked by a 25-meter-long (82-foot-long) tunnel to a cenote near the Kukulkan pyramid, INAH said.
The institute added that the discovery was made during cave and cenote exploration work being carried out by INAH and the Autonomous University of the Yucatan. Read more.