Archaeologists and Geophysical Researchers from the University of Mexico have announced the discovery of a large cenote, or sinkhole cave, underneath the famous Maya temple pyramid at Chichen Itza, The pyramid known as Kukulkan or El Castillo is renowned as one of the ‘new’ seven wonders of the world for the its perfect astronomical geometry.
The newly found body of water measures 35 meters (114.8 feet) across and has a depth of over 20 meters (65.6 feet). In the karstic landscape of the Yucatan Peninsula, underground rivers often connect the sinkhole lakes (cenotes).
The Geophysicial Expert Rene Chavez, from the Institute of Geophysics of the UNAM, stated that the body of water was naturally covered by rock above. The discovery was made without excavation, instead researchers used a type of electrical resistance survey.
Chavez said one corner of the pyramid rested on the underground chamber, indicating that there was a danger of collapsing.
Researchers think this sheds new light on the religious importance of the site why the pyramid was built at this location:
Faculty Member of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Laboratories and Academic Support Division, Denisse Argote made the following statement to archaeologicalconservancy.org:
“We know that in caustic [syc karstic] areas, its surroundings have subterranean waters. So, taking into account the concept of the maternal womb, the origins of life and water, which is the origin of all life, we have a double meaning which is very significant. Therefore, taking in consideration all these concepts we link it with a step to the sky in magical and religious thinking,” Argote said.
Other researchers not associated with the project agree that this theory would fit in with Maya cosmology. The next step of the research will be to map the interior construction of the pyramid. Researchers hope that it will clarify the different construction phases of the temple.
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