Men, Not Women, Sacrificed in Sacred Well, Says Archaeologist

January 23rd, 2008 by ejalbright

Artist’s recreation of Maya sacrifice at the Sacred Cenote of Chichen Itza.

A study of bones taken from the Sacred Well of the Itzas, the giant cenote at Chichen Itza, reveals that the pre-Columbian maya sacrificed boys and men, not “virgin girls.”

Archeologist Guillermo de Anda from the University of Yucatan examined portions of the the skeletons of 127 different individuals that were taken from the cenote in the 1960s. Some 80 percent were boys ages 3 to 11, and the remainder were men, he said.

de Anda told the Reuters news service that the juvenile skeletons cannot definitively be said to be of males, because the lack of development makes such identification difficult. However, de Anda is confident the victims were male.

One of the two historical sources about sacrifice at Chichen Itza says only men were thrown into the well. Diego de Landa, the future bishop of Yucatan, in 1566 described the ritual: “Into this Well the Mayans have had and still have the custom of throwing men alive as a sacrifice to their gods in time of drought, and they believed they would not die, though they never saw them again.”

Read the entire Reuters story HERE.

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