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Maya Twin Sacrifice

17 June 2024
Archaeology, Genetics, Mythology

What’s it all about. At https://phys.org/news/2024-06-ancient-maya-genomes-reveal-male.html … another interesting discovery by genetic research. The rise of Chichen Itsa after the collapse of the Classic Maya period was a kind of rebirth of society, one might say. Chichen Itza went on to become the biggest and most influential city of the Maya people in the period leading up to the coming of the conquistadors. Ritual child sacrifice of pairs of boys, either close kin or twins, suggests a connection with the Maya origin myth as outlined in the Popol Vuh. Chichen Itza was a major political centre in the centuries preceding the arrival of the Spanish. For example, it had more than a dozen ball courts and numerous temples. They included the temple of El Castillo, adorned with feathered serpents. As such, it represents a revival of interest in Maya myth and history. There is also a darker side, extensive evidence of ritual killings. It is even repesented in monumental art. The Maya had an interest in caves, cenotes, or sink holes, as well as chultons. These were repositories of child sacrifice. Such subterranean features, holes in the ground or gateways to the underworld, played a major role. The chultons were used for mortuary purposes from the 7th to the 12th centuries AD – suggesting events in the 5th and 6th centuries AD caused the revival of earlier Maya beliefs. The chultons seem to have housed the bodies of the sacrificed children.

In the Popol Vuh the twins descend into the underworld and are sacrificed by the gods following their defeat in a ball game. The Hero Twins, on the other hand, were the sons, or descendants of one of the sacrificed victims. The Hero Twins then go on to avenge their father and uncle by undergoing repeated cycles of sacrifice and resurrection in order to outsmart the gods of the underworld.

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