The traditional Maya constructed lots of of pyramids all through Mesoamerica, from about 1000 B.C. to A.D. 1500, putting all kinds of artifacts inside them.
However what precisely did they put inside them?
It seems that, just like the pyramids of historic Egypt, these constructed by the Maya contained wealthy treasures and burials. However in addition they typically contained one thing weirder — smaller pyramids contained in the bigger ones, specialists instructed Stay Science.
For instance, the pyramid of “El Castillo,” on the website of Chichén Itzá within the Yucatán Peninsula, comprises a pyramid inside a pyramid inside a pyramid, like a Russian nesting doll.
“The traditional inhabitants of the Yucatán Peninsula, after they arrived at a beforehand inhabited and deserted website, didn’t destroy the previous constructions,” Andrés Tejero-Andrade, a professor on the Nationwide Autonomous College of Mexico (UNAM) who has studied and written about El Castillo, instructed Stay Science in an e-mail. “Relatively a brand new one was constructed on high of these already current, and so forth,” he stated, noting that this is the reason El Castillo has this nesting doll construction.
This follow was not distinctive to El Castillo; different Maya and non-Maya pyramids have this association, Denisse Lorenia Argote Espino, a researcher at Mexico’s Nationwide Institute of Anthropology and Historical past (INAH), instructed Stay Science in an e-mail.
Espino famous that constructing a pyramid on high of one other pyramid “was a typical follow in pre-Hispanic [before the Spanish arrived] occasions” and that “the primary constructions in lengthy settlements [sites that were inhabited for a long time] often have a number of constructive phases.”
Nonetheless, such pyramid stacks aren’t the commonest issues archaeologists discover in Maya pyramids. Whereas some Maya temples had been used for rituals, others served as tombs for rulers or different elite people.
These burials contained artifacts corresponding to jade masks (for the deceased), jade beads, obsidian blades and stingray spines, which had been a logo of self-sacrifice for the traditional Maya, in accordance with Michael Coe’s guide “The Maya (opens in new tab)” (Thames & Hudson, 2011).
Stingray spines had been related to self-sacrifice as a result of generally they had been positioned “via ears, cheeks, lips, tongue, and the penis, the blood being spattered on paper used to [anoint] idols,” Coe wrote in his guide.
The traditional Maya prized objects product of jade. Probably the most well-known examples is a jaguar throne discovered within the El Castillo pyramid.
“The Traditional Maya esteemed jadeite not just for its preciousness and sweetness but in addition as stone of nice symbolic import,” wrote Karl Taube, an anthropology professor on the College of California, Riverside, in a 2005 article revealed within the journal Historic Mesoamerica (opens in new tab). For instance, the Maya related jade with maize, rulership and the wind itself, Taube wrote. “Jade was an essential part of funerary rites and the ritual conjuring of gods and ancestors,” he added.
Extra Maya artifacts
Maya pyramids contained many different outstanding artifacts. As an illustration, a pyramid on the website of San Bartolo, in northern Guatemala, comprises a fraction of what often is the earliest Maya calendar ever discovered, courting again greater than 2,200 years.
A pyramid at Copan, in Honduras, has a large inscription containing greater than 2,000 Maya glyphs inscribed on its staircase. The inscription tells the historical past of Copan’s rulers, in accordance with a 2006 Getty Conservation Institute report (opens in new tab). The Maya used a writing system that’s generally known as “Mayan hieroglyphic.” This writing system has glyphs that symbolize sounds which kind phrases that students can learn and translate.
Initially revealed on Stay Science.