News & Opinion | March 10, 2019 5:00 am

Explorers Discover 1000-year-old Artifacts Once Used In Sacred Rituals

A Mexican cave originally opened in 1966—but sealed up since then—was the site of the find.

Chichen Itza, Mexico. (AIRPANO /CATERS NEWS)
Chichen Itza, Mexico. (AIRPANO /CATERS NEWS)
Caters News Agency

Deep below the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, explorers recently discovered more than 150 ancient objects once used in sacred rituals.

The artifacts were discovered in a cave originally opened in 1966 but sealed soon after and apparently forgotten about until now, National Geographic reports.

The cave system where the objects were discovered has been named Balamku, which translates as “Jaguar God.”

National Geographic Explorer Guillermo de Anda lead a team into the cave system and re-discovered the objects sealed into the cave over 50 years ago by archaeologist Víctor Segovia Pinto.

“I couldn’t speak, I started to cry. I’ve analyzed human remains in [Chichén Itzá’s] Sacred Cenote, but nothing compares to the sensation I had entering, alone, for the first time in that cave,” de Anda explained.

The discovery could help researchers better understand the rise and fall of the Maya empire.

“Balamku can tell us not only the moment of collapse of Chichén Itzá,” de Anda told National Geographic. “It can also probably tell us the moment of its beginning. Now, we have a sealed context, with a great quantity of information, including useable organic matter, that we can use to understand the development of Chichén Itzá.”