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Ancient artifacts found in new BalamKú sanctuary at Chichén Itzá

Chichén Itzá, Yucatan — A cave discovered 50 years ago that was only recently explored has revealed more than 150 items that date back to around A.D. 1000.

On Monday, Mexican archaeologists reported their findings after exploring the forgotten-about cave located near the popular Chichén Itzá ruins in the Yucatan state.

According to the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, many of the 155 ceramic artifacts found are in good condition and that bone fragments also found are being analyzed.

Archaeologist Guillermo de Anda said they began exploring the cave in 2018 after Maya residents told them about it. That was when they realized the cave had already been discovered, just not explored.

Inside, archaeologists found a total of 155 items that include seven offerings with incense burners and vessels that contain preserved charred remains, food, seeds, jade, shells and bones that the ancient Mayans offered to their gods.

De Anda explained that the Mayans crawled on their stomachs through narrow passages of 40 cms to larger chambers where they made their offerings, asking for rain.

“In the cave, stalagmites are growing which tells us about the great state of preservation of the cave. If there had been an alteration, it would be noticed immediately.

“It is a magnificent place. Some of the vessels are fragmented which could be by natural effect or because of the process of ritual killings,” he explained.

The newly explored cave is named BalamKú (Jaguar God) and is located 24 meters below ground about 2.75 kilometers east of the Temple of Kukulcán also known as El Castillo (The Castle).

“Access to the cave is very limited. There are no more than four people inside working at one time. In addition, oxygen is very scarce and it is increasingly difficult to enter to register everything, however, it is great luck to have been in the cave because it means a second chance in archaeology,” he added.