The Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave is located in the jungles of Belize. For several centuries, the Maya Indians came here to perform rituals – they brought human sacrifices to their bloodthirsty gods.
An unusual dungeon was found in 1996. From that moment on, American archaeologists are trying to understand why the Indians chose such a remote place for their rituals. The fact is that to get to the “main hall”, you need to walk or swim a few meters up to your neck in water. The journey into the depths of pitch darkness took 1.5-2 hours.
Yes, not only do the pyramids serve as a place of worship. Since the end of the 21st century, archaeologists began to pay attention to caves in which skeletons of people, shards of clay jugs, and wall paintings were found. The pyramid made it possible to reach the heavens and deliver a message to the Sun god. What gods nest underground?
Actun was visited by priests of several settlements. The number of nearby settlements ranged from 50 thousand to 180 thousand people.
At the entrance, several pots were found, pierced in a special way, mountains of snail shells. A quarter of a mile away, in the Central Hall of the cave, the Maya left a treasure trove for scientists: more than 1,000 household items, ritual knives, 14 human skeletons, including parts of the bodies of infants and children.
The best-preserved remains of an unknown teenage girl, who was nicknamed the “Crystal Maiden”, because the skull and some bones shine with crystal luster.
The main researcher of the mysterious cave in Belize, American scientist Holly Moyes, wrote a book in which she came to the conclusion that the Maya believed that this dungeon was the entrance to the world of the dead, to the creepy Xibalba.
The underworld was considered a place of terrible suffering, and at the same time, no living being could exist without the world of the dead. The Maya believed that the path to eternal rest is full of traps and dangers, terrible and insidious trials, but only in this way can the soul be freed from the body.
The ancient Indians believed that the demons of diseases crawl out into the light from caves. It was possible to reach Xibalba only by passing three underground rivers: a river with scorpions, a bloody river, and a river filled with pus. Perhaps sacrifices were made to fill the cave reservoirs with blood?
Such ideas about the world are not uncommon: caves attract with their mystery and inaccessibility. Nevertheless, the Maya were willing to risk their lives to get into the lower halls.
Archaeologists were struck by the discovery: radiocarbon analysis of the objects and bones found showed that the Indians visited the cave from the 250 to the 9th century, but all this time, no one dared to explore the interior of the cave.
It was only by the eighth century that someone ventured further into the center, and then it became a constant phenomenon. But, after the 9th century, all the sacrifices abruptly stopped, the Actun was abandoned, the entrance began to overgrow with vines and disappear from sight. Moreover, the tribes left their homes. Scientists are still puzzling over what caused this phenomenon: drought, famine or some other cataclysm.
Who knows, maybe an ancient evil still lives in the salted cave of Actun-Tunichil-Muknal, which is just waiting to be found…