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Discovering The Maya Caves

By Linda Patterson

Can you picture out the world around 1500 BC? It would be an unspoiled, lush green and uninhabited land wherein no one exactly knows what lies across the river or what is on the other side of the forests. Our Mayan ancestors were once in this situation wherein they wandered the Mesoamerican basin looking for a place to settle down. For a race that deemed water to generally be the most sacred of all of the elements, a cave was an excellent location to create a settlement.

The significance of caves to the Mayans

Ancient civilizations in Mesoamerica including the Mayans had a multi-pronged approach towards caves. Not only is it perceived as a fountain of water in the means of rainfall and streams, a cave acted as a temple of the Mayans, as an edge between the other world and this world and also being a place of art expression. Among the two, this world is visible and very much appreciated by those who are exploring the Mayan ruins through historical adventure tours.

The caves are regarded by the Mayans to be the residence of Rain God Chaak and where they conducted their many different rituals to honor their deity. In the Mayan site in Guatemala called Peten, there is a chasm named Grieta and if you are one of those history lovers and want to witness this reverence then you should embark on adventure tours to Peten. Through close examination of the cave's environment, you would see remnants of the many rain related rituals. One other cave that served as a Mayan temple committed to the Rain God was discovered to feature a stalagmite sculpted to look like the deity as well as with a lightening axe.

The archeologists realized the importance of caves in the Mayan civilization after they have deduced that many-a-Mayan temple had been bastioned by pathways underground and that these take on an influential role in cosmology also. Naturally, these subway or surface features acted as canvas for ambitious artists and therefore verifying the fact that cave art was among the first types of artistic expressions used by humanity. A lot of the content focused on natural surroundings in regards to animals coexisting with people, footprints, handprints and also geometric patterns.

The walls of the Mayan temples were adorned with the most commonly used colors such as red and black while yellow and blue are rarely seen. Although charcoal was counted upon as a source of black sometimes various other elements just like manganese were furthermore resorted to for getting black pigmentation. Red was procured from inside of the cave itself courtesy of clay which comprised a high percentage of iron. Since this particular red had an orange tinge to it, artists who had been desirous of deeper and brighter shades employed hematite to be able to finish the result.

Glyphs carved out of stones, rock sculptures and objects made from precious elements such as obsidian and jade are the other constituents of the Mayan caves. Pieces of potter and altars of worship have been found by adventure tourists which have validated the fact that a cave in the Mayan era was actually thought of as sacred and the Mayan's place of worship. Worship was both individual and communal and even though the first sort entailed leaving a part of pottery in certain other part of the cave, the aforementioned needed ceremonial pottery to be utilized along with the altar of worship.

Just like other tribes in Mesoamerica, the Mayans considered caves to be associated with death and life wherein anything emerging from the cave was born into the world and anyone going into the recesses of the cave was departing from the world which means facing death. Therefore should you wish to make a journey down the memory lane plus live through the lives of our 'cave-dwelling' ancestors then you definitely embark on a tour to an ancient Mayan temple.

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Sunday, June 23, 2013

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