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El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan

Beliefs on Chichén Itzá's Sacrificial Past Overturned by Ancient DNA

Recent genetic research has revolutionized our understanding of the ritual practices at Chichén Itzá, one of Mesoamerica's most iconic archaeological sites. Contrary to the long-held belief that...
Shaman

Shamanism in Ancient Mesoamerica: A Journey to the World of the Gods

Shamanism, a spiritual and religious practice rooted in the belief of an intermediary connection between the human world and the spiritual realms, holds an important place in the ancient cultures of...
Pyramids at Caral, Supe Valley, Peru. Source: estivillml /Adobe Stock

Oldest Known Civilizations in History (Video)

​ Unveiling the tapestry of early civilizations illuminates a rich mosaic of human ingenuity and societal evolution. Amidst the Neolithic era's dawn, Catalhoyuk in modern-day Turkey stands as a...
A limestone panel depicting two Maya Mesoamerican ballgame players. Usumacinta River area, Guatemala.  Source: Ada Turnbull Hertle Fund; Art Institute Chicago/CC BY 3.0

Hallucinogens Found In Ancient Yucatán Ball Courts Betray Maya Offerings

New research has shed light on the rituals surrounding the construction of a ballcourt in the ancient Maya city of Yaxnohcah. A collecting of botanicals, subjected to environmental DNA analysis, has...
Left; Carved pendant plaque of a human head from the burial. Right; Jade Mask in fragments. Source: C. Halperin/Antiquity

Ritual Burning of Royal Remains Marked Maya Regime Change

Researchers in Guatemala have unearthed fascinating evidence of a dramatic ritual burning of royal remains, pointing to a significant political shift in the ancient Maya city of Ucanal. This find not...
El Castillo temple, Chichen Itza. Source: fergregory/Adobe Stock

For the Maya, Solar Eclipses Were a Sign of Heavenly Clashes

Kimberly H. Breuer /The Conversation We live in a light-polluted world, where streetlamps, electronic ads and even backyard lighting block out all but the brightest celestial objects in the night sky...
Representative image of hands covered with Maya blue pigment. Source: Generated with Adobe Firefly

Maya Sacrificial Victims Were Painted Blue and Tossed into a Sinkhole

In Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula lies a site which was once central to Maya sacrificial rituals—the sacred cenote of Chichen Itza. This natural sinkhole harbors secrets of human sacrifice and religious...
Large pre-Hispanic Olmec basalt carved head in the La Venta archeological park in Villahermosa Mexico.	Source: Barna Tanko

What Are the Contributions of the Olmecs to the World? (Video)

The Olmecs , an ancient Mesoamerican civilization predating the Aztecs and Mayas , left a profound mark on history despite the mysteries surrounding their origins and disappearance. Scholars agree...
Representational image of Maya healing by a medicine man. Source: HaiderShah / Adobe Stock

Unlocking the Secrets of Maya Healing

At a time when human beings are suffering from a host of illnesses caused by stress and modern-day living, the need for ancient wisdom has never been more important. In fact, many people have become...
Left; A cacao tree with fruit pods in various stages of ripening. Right; Ripe cacao ready to pick.	Source: Left, Public Domain, Right, Pantira/Adobe Stock

Scientists Map the Genetic Evolution of Cacao to Chocolate

Researchers have mapped the ancient dispersal of the cacao or cocoa plant from South America to Central America. Not only did they discover the plant was a central commodity in ancient trading, but...
Illustration of an ancient Mayan village. Source: jdross75/Adobe Stock

What Life Was Really Like for the Maya (Video)

Ancient Mayan life was a complex tapestry of ritual, innovation, and occasional brutality. Spanning Central America, their society thrived on advanced practices, from sophisticated dental care to...
Traditional farmers Ramón Nonato Tec Poot, Xuxcab, Yucatán.	Source: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center/CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

What Ancient Farmers Teach Us About Adapting to Climate Change

Chelsea Fisher /The Conversation In dozens of archaeological discoveries around the world, from the once-successful reservoirs and canals of Angkor Wat in Cambodia to the deserted Viking colonies of...
Undated photo of a mosaic jade mask discovered inside an ancient Maya tomb dating back 1,700 years in Chochkitam, Guatemala, near the borders of what are now Mexico and Belize, on July 1, 2022. Source: Francisco Estrada-Belli/Tulane University

Haunting Jade Mask and Inscribed Bones Unearthed In Guatemala

An ancient Maya tomb, dating back 1,700 years, has been uncovered at the site of Chochkitam in Guatemala, near the border of modern-day Mexico and Belize. This looted, pyramid tomb revealed an...
Inside the cave system where the burials have been found at Tulum site.	Source: Promeza research project, Tulum. Jerónimo Aviles Olguin/INAH

Unprecedented Cave Burials Found At Tulum Open New Avenues of Investigation

A cave containing mortuary deposits of many individuals has been discovered within the walled confines of Tulum Archaeological Zone, the picturesque site of a coastal Maya city in Quintana Roo,...
Copan Maya ruins in Honduras.	Source: Rafal Cichawa/Adobe Stock

The Ancient Maya: How Did Such An Advanced Society Collapse? (Video)

In 1839, John Lloyd Stevens embarked on a challenging expedition into the dense jungles of Honduras, fueled by tales of a magnificent Maya city, Copan . The ruins he discovered presented an enigma: a...
Lady parading with followers bearing torches, at the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane, marking the beginning of summer.	Source: chrisdonia/CC BY NC SA 2.0

10 Ancient Festivals That Were Far From Innocent

Many ancient festivals had elements that were far from innocent, often involving rituals, practices, and customs that might seem strange or even disturbing by today's standards. From bloodletting, to...
Sculpted head of Maya serpent warrior. Credit: INAH

Sculpted Maya Serpent Warrior Unearthed at Chichen Itza

Archaeologists digging at Mexico’s Chichen Itza were removing landfill from the Casa Colorada Complex when they made their remarkable discovery. Not only is this sculpted warrior wearing a feathered...
The circular structure discovered at El Tigre, Campeche, Mexico.	Source: INAH

Circular Structure Connected to Kukulcán Discovered in El Tigre, Mexico

Overshadowed by more famous Maya sites like Chichen Itza and Palenque, the lesser-explored El Tigre in Campeche State has long held its secrets. But now, ongoing explorations are bearing fruit, as...
Top image:  Moche pottery depicting copulation.  Museo Larco – Lima, Perú

Sexuality and Nudity in Ancient Mesoamerica

The ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica left behind a rich artistic legacy that continues to captivate and intrigue modern scholars and enthusiasts. Among the myriad of themes that Mesoamerican art...
A Mayan woman in a sweat lodge. Source: Peopleimages - AI / Adobe Stock.

Shocking Weird Things That Were Normal for Mayans! (Video)

The Mayan civilization , known for its enigmatic rituals, had customs that may baffle us today. Their saunas, rather than places of relaxation, were considered gateways to the afterlife. Blood...
El Mirador, Guatemala. Source: US Embassy Guatemala / Flickr.

Mayan Jungle Ruins in Guatemala Could Become Major Tourist Attraction (Video)

Deep within the lush, tropical Guatemalan forest lies the ancient Mayan city of El Mirador , a site over 2,000 years old. However, it's not just an archaeological treasure; it's at the center of a...
Caracol Collage, created by the author:  The Observatory in 2023; photo by author, Starry sky background compliments of Felix Mittermeier, Pixabay, To the upper left is the lithograph of El Caracol by Frederick Catherwood, 1844, To the upper right is the recreation of El Caracol at Chichén Itzá by artist J.S. Bolles, 1935, Flanking the Caracol are two heads of K’uk’ulkan, photos from Ruppert, Karl, The Caracol at Chichen Izta (sic) Yucatan, Mexico, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1935.

El Caracol Conundrum: Secrets of Chichén Itzá’s Famous Maya Observatory

Standing unique among ancient structures, Chichén Itzá’s enigmatic “Observatory”, El Caracol, may be the world’s most mysterious and distinctive stone monument. It was built by the Maya of the...
General aerial view of the East Group at Kabal. Source: INAH

Archaeologists Excavate Huge 1,500-Year-Old Palace in Maya City of Kabah

During excavations at the site of the Maya city of Kabah in southeastern Mexico, archaeologists unearthed the ruins of an expansive but previously unknown palace, which was located in a recently...
Mayan Nose Ornament Made from Human Bone Found in Palenque Ruins

Mayan Nose Ornament Made from Human Bone Found in Palenque Ruins

In a groundbreaking discovery at the Palenque Archaeological Zone in Chiapas, Mexico, a Maya nose ornament was uncovered, showcasing an intricately carved scene. This adornment, crafted from human...

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