Did You Know? The Maya sacrificed to a water god...

Mexico’s cenotes hide mysterious sacrificial places of the Mayas as well as, much older, pre-historic campsites. A cenote is a natural karst cave first tunnelled into the limestone by groundwater and than exposed to the surface by the collapse of its ceiling.

The most famous cenote, the Cenote Sagrada, is located in Chichén Itza, in Yucatan. It is dedicated to the Maya god of rain. The opening of the Chichén Itzá Cenote is about 65 meters in diameter, with steep vertical sides some 60 feet above the water level. Its use was exclusively sacrificial and ceremonial. Copper and gold bells, rings, masks, cups, figurines, embossed plaques and above all more than 120 human skeletons of sacrificed men and women, but even more children, were found by underwater archaeologists.

In the Cenote Calaveras (cave of skulls), located at the archaeological site of Tulum, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, 118 Mayan skulls and other bones scattered on the bottom were discovered at a depth of 15 m.

A human skeleton from about 10,000 BC (late Pleistocene age) was found 487 m inside the cave named cenote Chan Hol. Chan Hol, meaning ‘small hole’ in Mayan and is also located in Tulum.

© INAH/SAS J. Avilés/UNESCO
Skull of the 'woman of Muknal', dated 10,000 BC and discovered by archaeologists in a Cenote in Mexico.