Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people of the Terminal Classic period. The archaeological site is located in Yucatán State, Mexico. Chichen Itza was a major focal point in the Northern Maya Lowlands from the Late Classic through the Terminal Classic and into the early portion of the Postclassic period; the site exhibits a multitude of architectural styles, reminiscent of styles seen in central Mexico and of the Puuc and Chenes styles of the Northern Maya lowlands. The presence of central Mexican styles was once thought to have been representative of direct migration or conquest from central Mexico, but most contemporary interpretations view the presence of these non-Maya styles more as the result of cultural diffusion. Chichen Itza was one of the largest Maya cities and it was to have been one of the mythical great cities, or Tollans, referred to in Mesoamerican literature; the city may have had the most diverse population in the Maya world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles at the site.
The ruins of Chichen Itza are federal property, the site's stewardship is maintained by Mexico's Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. The land under the monuments had been owned until 29 March 2010, when it was purchased by the state of Yucatán. Chichen Itza is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico with over 2.6 million tourists in 2017. The Maya name "Chichen Itza" means "At the mouth of the well of the Itza." This derives from chi', meaning "mouth" or "edge," and chʼen or chʼeʼen, meaning "well." Itzá is the name of an ethnic-lineage group that gained political and economic dominance of the northern peninsula. One possible translation for Itza is "enchanter of the water," from its, "sorcerer," and ha, "water."The name is spelled Chichén Itzá in Spanish, the accents are sometimes maintained in other languages to show that both parts of the name are stressed on their final syllable. Other references prefer the Maya orthography, Chichen Itzaʼ; this form preserves the phonemic distinction between chʼ and ch, since the base word chʼeʼen begins with a postalveolar ejective affricate consonant.
The word "Itzaʼ" has a high tone on the "a" followed by a glottal stop. Evidence in the Chilam Balam books indicates another, earlier name for this city prior to the arrival of the Itza hegemony in northern Yucatán. While most sources agree the first word means seven, there is considerable debate as to the correct translation of the rest; this earlier name is difficult to define because of the absence of a single standard of orthography, but it is represented variously as Uuc Yabnal, Uuc Hab Nal, Uucyabnal or Uc Abnal. This name, dating to the Late Classic Period, is recorded both in the book of Chilam Balam de Chumayel and in hieroglyphic texts in the ruins. Chichen Itza is located in the eastern portion of Yucatán state in Mexico; the northern Yucatán Peninsula is arid, the rivers in the interior all run underground. There are four visible, natural sink holes, called cenotes, that could have provided plentiful water year round at Chichen, making it attractive for settlement. Of these cenotes, the "Cenote Sagrado" or Sacred Cenote, is the most famous.
In 2015, scientists determined that there is a hidden cenote under Kukulkan, which has never been seen by archaeologists. According to post-Conquest sources, pre-Columbian Maya sacrificed objects and human beings into the cenote as a form of worship to the Maya rain god Chaac. Edward Herbert Thompson dredged the Cenote Sagrado from 1904 to 1910, recovered artifacts of gold, jade and incense, as well as human remains. A study of human remains taken from the Cenote Sagrado found that they had wounds consistent with human sacrifice. Several archaeologists in the late 1980s suggested that unlike previous Maya polities of the Early Classic, Chichen Itza may not have been governed by an individual ruler or a single dynastic lineage. Instead, the city's political organization could have been structured by a "multepal" system, characterized as rulership through council composed of members of elite ruling lineages; this theory was popular in the 1990s, but in recent years, the research that supported the concept of the "multepal" system has been called into question, if not discredited.
The current belief trend in Maya scholarship is toward the more traditional model of the Maya kingdoms of the Classic Period southern lowlands in Mexico. Chichen Itza was a major economic power in the northern Maya lowlands during its apogee. Participating in the water-borne circum-peninsular trade route through its port site of Isla Cerritos on the north coast, Chichen Itza was able to obtain locally unavailable resources from distant areas such as obsidian from central Mexico and gold from southern Central America. Between AD 900 and 1050 Chichen Itza expanded to become a powerful regional capital controlling north and central Yucatán, it established Isla Cerritos as a trading port. The layout of Chichen Itza site core developed during its earlier phase of occupation, between 750 and 900 AD, its final layout was developed after 900 AD, the 10th century saw the rise of the city as a regional capital controlling the area from central Yucatán to the north coast, with its power extending down the east and west coasts of the peninsula.
The earliest hieroglyphic date discovered at Chichen Itza is equivalent to 832 AD, while the last known da
The water table is the upper surface of the zone of saturation. The zone of saturation is where the fractures of the ground are saturated with water; the water table is the surface. It may be visualized as the "surface" of the subsurface materials that are saturated with groundwater in a given vicinity; the groundwater may be from groundwater flowing into the aquifer. In areas with sufficient precipitation, water infiltrates through pore spaces in the soil, passing through the unsaturated zone. At increasing depths, water fills in more of the pore spaces in the soils, until a zone of saturation is reached. Below the water table, in the phreatic zone, layers of permeable rock that yield groundwater are called aquifers. In less permeable soils, such as tight bedrock formations and historic lakebed deposits, the water table may be more difficult to define; the water table should not be confused with the water level in a deeper well. If a deeper aquifer has a lower permeable unit that confines the upward flow the water level in this aquifer may rise to a level, greater or less than the elevation of the actual water table.
The elevation of the water in this deeper well is dependent upon the pressure in the deeper aquifer and is referred to as the potentiometric surface, not the water table. The water table may vary due to seasonal changes such as evapotranspiration. In undeveloped regions with permeable soils that receive sufficient amounts of precipitation, the water table slopes toward rivers that act to drain the groundwater away and release the pressure in the aquifer. Springs, rivers and oases occur when the water table reaches the surface. Groundwater entering rivers and lakes accounts for the base-flow water levels in water bodies. Within an aquifer, the water table is horizontal, but reflects the surface relief due to the capillary effect in soils and other porous media. In the aquifer, groundwater flows from points of higher pressure to points of lower pressure, the direction of groundwater flow has both a horizontal and a vertical component; the slope of the water table is known as the hydraulic gradient, which depends on the rate at which water is added to and removed from the aquifer and the permeability of the material.
The water table does not always mimic the topography due to variations in the underlying geological structure. A perched water table is an aquifer that occurs in the vadose zone; this occurs when there is an impermeable layer of rock or sediment or impermeable layer above the main water table/aquifer but below the land surface. If a perched aquifer's flow intersects the surface, at a valley wall, for example, the water is discharged as a spring. On low-lying oceanic islands with porous soil, freshwater tends to collect in lenticular pools on top of the denser seawater intruding from the sides of the islands; such an island's freshwater lens, thus the water table and falls with the tides. In some regions, for example, Great Britain or California, winter precipitation is higher than summer precipitation and so the groundwater storage is not recharged in summer; the water table is lower during the summer. This disparity between the level of the winter and summer water table is known as the "zone of intermittent saturation", wherein the water table will fluctuate in response to climatic conditions.
Fossil water is groundwater that has remained in an aquifer for several millennia and occurs in deserts. It is non-renewable by present-day rainfall due to its depth below the surface, any extraction causes a permanent change in the water table in such regions. Aquifer drawdown or overdrafting and the pumping of fossil water may be a contributing factor to sea-level rise. Most crops need a water table at a minimum depth because at shallower depths the crop suffers a yield decline. For some important food and fiber crops a classification was made: Artesian aquifer Groundwater recharge Hydrogeology Watertable control
A pit cave, shaft cave or vertical cave—or simply called a pit or pot. Pit caves form in limestone as a result of long-term erosion by water, they found deep within horizontal caves. Among cavers, a pit is a vertical drop of any depth that cannot be negotiated safely without the use of ropes or ladders. Exploration into pit caves requires the use of equipment such as nylon kernmantle rope or cable ladders. More specialized caving techniques such as the single rope technique are common practice and the preferred method of pit exploration for cavers worldwide; the SRT involves the use of 9–11 mm nylon static rope and mechanical descenders/ascenders. Vertical caving is a specialized sport that should be undertaken only after acquiring knowledge of, expertise in, proper vertical caving equipment and its use. For obvious reasons, vertical caving is more dangerous than "horizontal caving". Vertical caving requires the intimate understanding of ropes, anchors, rappelling devices and ascending systems.
Veteran cavers are knowledgeable in self rescue techniques including change-overs and pick-offs. Pit caving was pioneered by the British geologist John Beaumont who gave an account of his descent into Lamb Leer Cavern to the Royal Society in 1681. French caver Édouard-Alfred Martel first achieved the descent and exploration of the Gouffre de Padirac, France, as early as 1889 and the first complete descent of a 110 m wet vertical shaft at Gaping Gill, in Yorkshire, England, in 1895, he developed his own techniques using metallic ladders. In the 1930s, as caving became popular in France, several clubs in the Alps developed vertical cave exploration into a recognized outdoor sport. During World War II, a team composed by Pierre Chevalier, Fernand Petzl, Charles Petit-Didier and others explored the Dent de Crolles cave system near Grenoble, France, it became known as the deepest cave in the world at that time. The lack of available technical equipment during the war forced Chevalier and his team to innovate and develop their own.
The scaling-pole, nylon ropes, use of explosives in caves, mechanical rope-ascenders can be traced to the exploration of the Dent de Crolles cave system. In the late 1950s, American caver Bill Cuddington, known as "Vertical Bill", developed the single rope technique in the United States. In 1958, two Swiss alpinists and Marti teamed up, creating the first rope ascender, known as the Jumar. In 1968, Bruno Dressler asked Petzl, who worked as a metals machinist, to build a rope-ascending tool, today known as the Petzl Croll, which he had developed by adapting the Jumar to the specificity of pit caving. Pursuing these developments, in the 1970s Fernand Petzl started a small caving equipment manufacturing company, Petzl. Today it is a world leader in equipment for caving, at-height safety in civil engineering; the development of the rappel rack and the evolution of mechanical ascension systems, notably helped extend the practice and safety of pit exploration to a larger practice by established cavers.
The deepest individual pitch within a cave is 603 m in Vrtoglavica Cave in Slovenia. The second deepest pitch is Patkov Gušt at 553 m in Croatia. Lamb Leer, England, was entered by a 25 m pitch as early as the 17th century. Hranice Abyss, Czech Republic, is the deepest underwater cave in the world, the lowest confirmed depth is 473 m, the expected depth is 700–800 m. Pozzo del Merro, Italy, is the world's second deepest underwater pit cave, the deepest part reached is 392 m. El Capitan Pit, Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, USA, at 598.3 ft is the deepest vertical shaft in the United States. Fantastic Pit, Ellisons Cave System, Georgia, USA, at 586 ft is the deepest freefall pit in the lower 48 United States. Stupendous Pit, Rumbling Falls Cave, Tennessee, USA, is a 202 ft pit that drops into a 26 acres chamber. Hellhole, West Virginia, USA, has a 154 ft entrance drop and was the site of development of the single rope technique in the 1950s and'60s. Natural Trap Cave, located in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, is 85 ft deep and home to one of the largest fossil finds in North America.
Sótano de Las Golondrinas, San Luis Potosí, Mexico, at 1,094 ft, is the deepest known freefall drop in the western hemisphere. Cenote Poza El Zacatón, Mexico, is the world's deepest cenote at 339 m CCTV announced that in Shaanxi Province 49 pit caves have been found; the largest one is 500 m in diameter. The caves are in pristine condition, they lie in mountains. The local governments are taking steps to preserve them in their natural state. A UNESCO survey found rare animals living in the entrances to the caves. Cenotes and Blue holes Pitch List of sinkholes Pit crater
Yucatán the Free and Sovereign State of Yucatán, is one of the 31 states which, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 106 municipalities, its capital city is Mérida, it is located on the north part of the Yucatán Peninsula. It is bordered by the states of Campeche to the southwest and Quintana Roo to the southeast, with the Gulf of Mexico off its north coast. Before the arrival of Spaniards to the Yucatán Peninsula, the name of this region was Mayab. In the Mayan language, "ma' ya'ab" is translated as "a few", it was a important region for the Mayan civilization, which reached the peak of its development here, where the Mayans founded the cities of Chichen Itza, Motul, Mayapan, Ek' Balam and Ichcaanzihóo, now Mérida. After the Spanish conquest of Yucatán, the Peninsula was a single administrative and political entity, the Captaincy General of Yucatán. Following independence and the breakup of the Mexican Empire in 1823, the first Republic of Yucatán was proclaimed, voluntarily annexed to the Federal Republic of United Mexican States on December 21, 1823.
On March 16, 1841, as a result of cultural and political conflicts around the federal pact, Yucatán declared its independence from Mexico. Forming a second Republic of Yucatán. On July 14, 1848, Yucatán was forced to rejoin Mexico. In 1858, in the middle of the caste war, the state of Yucatán was divided for the first time, establishing Campeche as a separate state. During the Porfiriato, in 1902, the state of Yucatán was divided again to form the Federal territory that became the present state of Quintana Roo. Today, Yucatán is the safest state in Mexico and Mérida was awarded City of Peace in 2011; the name Yucatán assigned to the peninsula, came from early explorations of the Conquistadors from Europe. Three different explanations for the origin of the name have been proposed; the first is that the name resulted from confusion between the Mayan inhabitants and the first Spanish explorers around 1517: According to one of them, it came from the answer of an indigenous Mayan to the question of a Spanish explorer, who wanted to know the name of the region.
The Mayan replied Ma'anaatik ka t'ann which means in the Maya language I do not understand your speech or I do not understand you. It is said that the Spaniards gave the name of Yucatán to the region, because the Mayan answered their questions with the phrase uh yu ka t'ann, which in the Maya language means hear how they talk; the first person to propose the "I do not understand" version was the friar Toribio de Benavente Motolinia. In his book Historia de los indios de la Nueva España he says because talking with those Indians of the coast, whatever the Spanish asked the Indians responded: Tectetán, Tectetán which means I don't understand you, I don't understand you; the second proposed explanation comes from Bernal Díaz del Castillo. In his book Historia verdadera de la conquista de la Nueva España, he says Yucatá means "land of yucas", a plant, cultivated by the Maya and was an important food source for them; the third, most explanation is that the name derived from the Maya people who inhabited the region.
Today the people are referred to by their Aztec name, the Chontal, but the Chontal Maya people refer to themselves as the Yokot'anob or the Yokot'an, meaning "the speakers of Yoko ochoco". Thus Yucatan most derives from Yokot'an; the origin of the first settlements has not been scientifically confirmed, although the presence of first humans in the area dates from the late Pleistocene or ice age, according to the findings in the Loltún caves and caverns of Tulum. The first Maya moved to the Peninsula circa 250 CE, from the Petén, to settle the southeastern peninsula in the modern Bacalar, Quintana Roo. In 525, the Chanés, moved to the east of the peninsula, founding Chichén Itzá, Motul, Ek' Balam, Ichcaanzihó and Champotón. Tutul xiúes, Toltec descent, who came from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, settled in the region causing displacement of the Itza and Cocomes—a diversified branch of Itzá—and after years and many battles, was formed Mayapán League, that disintegrated circa 1194, giving way to a period of anarchy and fragmentation into small domains which the Spanish conquistadors found in the 16th century.
In 1513, Juan Ponce de León had conquered the island of Borinquén and had discovered Florida. Antón de Alaminos, with Ponce de León on this latest discovery, suspected that west of Cuba they could find new land. Under their influence, Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar, supported by the governor of Cuba, organized an expedition commanded by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba to explore the seas west of the island; this expedition sailed from port of Ajaruco on February 8, 1517, to La Habana and after circling the island and sailing southwest by what is now known as the Yucatán Channel, the expedition made landfall at the Yucatán Peninsula on March 1. There are discrepancies about; some say. Bernal Díaz del Castillo places it at Cabo Catoche where they saw a great city which they named the «Gran Cairo». T
In oceanography, a halocline is a subtype of chemocline caused by a strong, vertical salinity gradient within a body of water. Because salinity affects the density of seawater, it can play a role in its vertical stratification. Increasing salinity by one kg/m3 results in an increase of seawater density of around 0.7 kg/m3. In the midlatitudes, an excess of evaporation over precipitation leads to surface waters being saltier than deep waters. In such regions, the vertical stratification is due to surface waters being warmer than deep waters and the halocline is destabilizing; such regions may be prone to salt fingering, a process which results in the preferential mixing of salinity. In certain high latitude regions the surface waters are colder than the deep waters and the halocline is responsible for maintaining water column stability, isolating the surface waters from the deep waters. In these regions, the halocline is important in allowing for the formation of sea ice, limiting the escape of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Haloclines are found in fjords, poorly mixed estuaries where fresh water is deposited at the ocean surface. In the plot, one can discern three layers: About 50 m of low salinity water "swimming" on top of the ocean; the temperature is −1.8 °C, near to the freezing point. This layer blocks heat transfer from the warmer, deeper levels into the sea ice, which has considerable effect on its thickness. About 150 m of steeply rising salinity and increasing temperature; this is the actual halocline. The deep layer with nearly constant salinity and decreasing temperature. A halocline can be created and observed in a drinking glass or other clear vessel. If fresh water is poured over a quantity of salt water, using a spoon held horizontally at water-level to prevent mixing, a hazy interface layer, the halocline, will soon be visible due to the varying index of refraction across the boundary. A halocline is most confused with a thermocline – a thermocline is an area within a body of water that marks a drastic change in temperature.
Haloclines are common in water-filled limestone caves near the ocean. Less dense fresh water from the land forms a layer over salt water from the ocean. For underwater cave explorers, this can cause the optical illusion of air space in caverns. Passing through the halocline tends to stir up the layers. Thermocline – A cline based on difference in water temperature, Chemocline – A cline based on difference in water chemistry, Pycnocline – A cline based on difference in water density. Hypersaline lake – A landlocked body of water that contains concentrations of salts greater than the sea Isopycnal – A line connecting points of a specific density or potential density Osmotic power – The energy available from the difference in the salt concentration between seawater and river water Thermohaline circulation – A part of the large-scale ocean circulation, driven by global density gradients created by surface heat and freshwater fluxes
The Sacred Cenote refers to a noted cenote at the pre-Columbian Maya archaeological site of Chichen Itza, in the northern Yucatán Peninsula. It is located to the north of Chichen Itza's civic precinct, to which it is connected by a 300-metre sacbe, or raised and paved pathway. According to post-Conquest sources, pre-Columbian Maya sacrificed objects and human beings into the cenote as a form of worship to the Maya rain god Chaac. Edward Herbert Thompson dredged the Cenote Sagrado from 1904 to 1910, recovered artifacts of gold, jade and incense, as well as human remains. A study of human remains taken from the Cenote Sagrado found that they had wounds consistent with human sacrifice; the northwestern Yucatán Peninsula is a limestone plain, with no rivers or streams, ponds. The region is pockmarked with natural sinkholes, called cenotes, which expose the water table to the surface. One of the most impressive of these is the Sacred Cenote, 60 metres in diameter and surrounded by sheer cliffs that drop to the water table some 27 metres below.
According to ethnohistoric sources, the Sacred Cenote was a place of pilgrimage for ancient Maya people who would conduct sacrifices into it. As Friar Diego de Landa observed in 1566 after visiting Chichen Itza: "Into this well they have had, had, the custom of throwing men alive as a sacrifice to the gods, in times of draught, they believed that they did not die though they never saw them again, they threw into it a great many other things, like precious stones and things which they prized. And so, if this country had possessed gold, it would be this well that would have the great part of it." Most of the major findings in the cenote were made under the supervision of Edward Herbert Thompson, who began dredging in 1904. Much of what is known about the dredging process is derived from Thompson’s personal notes. Thompson received money from Stephen Salisbury III to help him buy the Chichén Itzá excavation site and explore the cenote. Much of Thompson’s findings and research can be found at the Peabody Museum at Harvard University.
A bucket attached to a pulley system was used to dredge the cenote. Much of the beginning work consisted of clearing debris and fallen trees on the top of the water. Leon Cole, a colleague of Thompson, once recorded in his journal, “they made ten hauls in the morning and six or eight in the afternoon.” People would search through the buckets of water looking for artifacts and categorizing them accordingly. There were several reports of stolen artifacts that could never be found. Thompson decided to take a break from dredging. A host of problems, including the Mexican Revolution, financial issues began to hinder the work effort and damage the morale of the workers. Thompson’s house in Mexico was burned down, one of the chests in which he kept his notes and data was destroyed in the fire. By 1923, Thompson was done working on the cenote. In 1909, Thompson decided to dive in the cenote to explore the floors, assisted by two Greek divers from the Bahamas, he reported limited visibility due to the murky water, many shifting rocks and trees made the dive hazardous.
Thompson found a layer about 5 metres thick of blue pigment that had settled on the ground of the cenote. He described the bottom as, “full of long narrow cracks, radiating from centers as if the glass bottom of a dish had been broken by a pointed instrument. We found down in the cracks and holes a grayish mud in which were imbedded the heavier gold objects and copper bells in numbers.” He proudly proclaimed, “I have at last trod the bottom of the Cenote.” In 1961, William Folan, a field director for the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, helped launch another expedition into the cenote. Some of their notable discoveries included an inscribed, gold-sheathed bone, a large chert knife with a gold-sheathed wooden handle, wooden ear flares with jade and turquoise mosaic. In 1967-1968, Norman Scott and Román Piña Chán led another expedition, they tried two new methods that many people had suggested for a long time: emptying the water out of the cenote and clarifying the water. Both of these methods were only successful.
Only about 4 metres of water could be removed, the water was only clarified for a short amount of time. Archaeological investigations support this as thousands of objects have been removed from the bottom of the cenote, including artifacts made from gold, copal, flint, shell, rubber, cloth, as well as human skeletons. Many perishable objects were preserved by the cenote. Wooden objects which would have rotted were preserved in the water. A great variety of wooden objects have been found including weapons, idols and jewelry. Jade was the largest category of objects found, followed by textiles; the presence of jade and copper in the cenote offers proof of the importance of Chichén Itzá as a cultural city center. None of these raw materials are native to the Yucatán, which indicates that they were valuable objects brought to Chichén Itzá from other places in Central America and sacrificed as an act of worship. Pottery, stone and shells were found in the cenote. Archaeologists have found that many objects show evidence of being intentionally damaged before being thrown into the cenote, have speculated that this intentional damage is meant to be analogous to “killing” the object as a sacrifice.
Certain cenotes contain a large number of human remains, including both males and females, young children/infants. According to arch
Sacrifice in Maya culture
Sacrifice was a religious activity in Maya culture, involving either the killing of animals or the bloodletting by members of the community, in rituals superintended by priests. Sacrifice has been a feature of all pre-modern societies at some stage of their development and for broadly the same reason: to propitiate or fulfill a perceived obligation towards the gods. What is known of Mayan ritual practices comes from two sources: the extant chronicles and codices of the missionary-ethnographers who arrived with or shortly after the Spanish conquest of Yucatán and subsequent archaeological data; the historical record is more sparse than that for the Aztecs, can only be reliable in regards to the Post-Classical period, long after the Classic Maya collapse. The chroniclers have been accused of colonial bias, but the most comprehensive account of Maya society, by Diego de Landa, has been described by modern experts as an "ethnographic masterpiece”, despite his role in the destruction of Maya codices.
The archaeological data has continued to expand as more excavations are undertaken, confirming much of what the early chroniclers wrote. A major breakthrough was the deciphering of the Maya syllabary in the 1950s, which has allowed the glyphs carved into many temples to be understood. Excavation and forensic examination of human remains has thrown light on the age and cause of death of sacrificial victims; the Mayas engaged in a large number of festivals and rituals on fixed days of the year, many of which involved animal sacrifices and all of which seem to have involved blood letting. The ubiquity of this practice is a unique aspect of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican culture, is now believed to have originated with the Olmecs, the region's first civilization. Ritualised sacrifice was performed in public by religious or political leaders piercing a soft body part, most the tongue, ear or foreskin, collecting the blood to smear directly on the idol or collecting it on paper, burned. In what is today Nicaragua, the blood was smeared on maize, distributed to the people and baked into sacred bread.
The blood could be collected from the non-elite from the foreskins of youths, or from high-ranking women. The site of collection was of obvious ritual significance. Joralemon notes it is "virtually certain" that blood from the penis and the vagina were the most sacred and had "extraordinary fertilizing power" and that such rituals were essential for the regeneration of the natural world cultivated plants. In one dramatic variant men and women "gathered in the temple in a line, each made a pierced hole through the member, across from side to side, passed through as great a quantity of cord as they could stand, but auto-sacrifice could be an everyday event, with those passing by an idol anointing it with blood drawn on the spot as a sign of piety. Blood sacrifice to the Maya gods was vigorously opposed by the Spanish clergy as the most visible sign of native apostasy, as De Landa, to become the second bishop of the Yucatán, makes clear: "After the people had been thus instructed in religion, the youths benefitted as we have said, they were perverted by their priests and chiefs to return to their idolatry.
Upon this the friars held an Inquisition. Some of the Indians out of grief, deluded by the devil, hung themselves. Mesoamerica lacked domesticated food animals such as sheep and pigs, so animal protein and byproducts could only be obtained by hunting. Montero-Lopez argues that on the basis of analysis of the distribution of deer parts in Classical Maya sites, the archeological record does not support a clear distinction between the secular and sacred uses of animals. After deer, the next most common sacrificial animals were dogs and various birds, followed by a wide range of more exotic creatures, from jaguars to alligators. Animal sacrifice seems to have been a common ritual before the commencement of any important task or undertaking. De Landa provides the most comprehensive account of calendar festivals and rituals, but in none of these regular events is human sacrifice mentioned, which must mean his Maya informants were unaware of any instances since the cleric would hardly have suppressed such information.
The traditional view is that the Mayans were far less prolific in sacrificing people than their neighbours. Bancroft notes: "An event which in Mexico would be the death-signal to a hecatomb of human victims would in Yucatán be celebrated by the death of a spotted dog." But mounting archeological evidence has for many decades now supported the chroniclers' contention that human sacrifice was far from unknown in Maya society. The city of Chichen Itza, the main focus of Maya regional power from the Late Classical period, appears to have been a major focus of human sacrifice. There are two natural sinkholes, or cenotes, at the site of the city, which would have provided a plentiful supply of potable water; the largest of these, Cenote Sagrado, was where many victims were cast as an offering to the rain god Chaac. A 2007 study of remains taken from this cenote found that they had wounds consistent with