Various groups of divers have attempted to find the bottom since the 1950s. They managed to reach a depth of 44 m (144 ft), but no one has yet found the bottom. The divers did find numerous objects made of wood, bone, and stone, as well as fragments of pottery. A number of human skeletons were also found, but it is unclear whether these were sacrifices or possibly drownings that occurred over the centuries. Some of the objects seem to have been offerings, so it is believed that this was a sacred site, not just a source of potable water.
openings into the mystical underworld, and they were especially important if they contained water. Chaac was the rain god and the Maya believed he lived in cenotes and water-filled caves. If the appropriate ceremonies and rituals were performed, accompanied with the correct offerings, Chaac would send water from the cenote or cave up to the skies to form rain. For an agriculture-based society, this was an extremely important process. In addition, caves were closely associated with sexuality and fertility. The entrance of a cave represented the vagina and the cave itself the womb. Still another view of caves concerned life and death. That which emerged from a cave represented life, and that which descended into one represented death.
Dzibilchaltún as archaeologists found it.
180 species of reptiles and amphibians native to Yucatan. The one above may be a Spiny Tailed Iguana (Ctenosaura defensor) which is found only in Western Yucatan.
The Ball Court
Olmecs. Dzibilchatún's court is located a short distance to the southwest of the Palace. Its size is modest compared to the huge ball court found at Chichen Itza, but this one is still of respectable dimensions. Some ancient cities had multiple courts, but we didn't see any others during our visit. Still, they may well have been there, given the long occupancy of Dzibilchaltún and the number of unexcavated rubble piles scattered through the surrounding jungle.
Uxmal, there are large stone rings mounted, one on each wall, through which players would have tried to propel the hard rubber ball. There are no such rings on the Dzibilchaltún court's walls. No sign was available at the sight to explain these differences, and there was no mention of this ball court in any of the on-line or printed materials I researched.
stucco made of limestone paste. The surface seen above can be found near the north entrance of the ball court. Leaves have drifted into shallow depressions in the stucco. Oddly, this prosaic pavement gave me more of a feeling of connection with these ancient people than their great temples and pyramids. I felt I was literally walking in the footsteps of those who passed this way thousands of years ago.
The Colonial-era ruins at Dzibilichaltún
Mérida wasn't founded as the colonial capital until 1542.
This completes Part 15 of my NW Yucatan series, and is the last of four segments on Dzibilchaltún. I am proud of this four-part subseries, since it may represent the most comprehensive record of this ancient city available on the internet. I hope you have enjoyed this posting. If you would like to provide feedback, please do so in the Comments section below or email me directly.
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Hasta luego, Jim