Naj Tunich

Naj Tunich is a natural cave and an important archaeological site in Guatemala.

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Naj Tunich Drawing


The discovery of Naj Tunich caves, in Poptún southern Peten, Guatemala, in 1980 initiated the interest for Cave Archeology among the Mayanist. Naj Tunich is the preeminent Maya cave site, boasting the most cave architecture ever found, the only elite masonry tombs reported from caves and the largest (and most exceptional) corpus of Maya cave inscriptions and paintings. The investigation of the site throughout the 1980s and the attempt to understand its obvious importance was the catalyst that led to the formation of the field of Maya cave archaeology. Naj Tunich has dozens of hieroglyphic texts and figures, as well as some handprints and about a half dozen incised petroglyphs. This cave is so rich in artwork, artifacts, tombs, and monumental architecture that it effectively revolutionizes our picture of caves as an element of Maya social and religious life, particularly among the elite. The site possesses unique features, and gives evidence of child sacrifice, ritual bloodletting, and intercourse - sacred activities which may have been accompanied by alerted states of consciousness induced by alcoholic or hallucinogenic substances. Members of Maya royalty may be included among those who were buried there. A sacred site from as early as the late Preclassic period, around 100 B.C., this cave continued in use until the Late Classic era (A.D. 550-900), although its greatest use occurred during the Early Classic phase from A.D. 250-550. Naj Tunich is the Maya term for cave and literally means "stone house", because caves were conceived of as places where the gods lived. But among caves, Naj Tunich must always have been something extraordinary. All the Kek’chis' Maya in the area agree that it is the largest cave and, shortly after its discovery, one man expressed the opinion that this was where the maize god dwelt, or the entrance to Xibalba. During the Late Pre-Classic and Classic Maya era, Naj Tunich was an important pilgrimage center on at least a regional scale. The site has always produced its share of surprises. Initially, the large corpus of inscriptions and paintings located deep within the tunnel system received the greatest attention. In carrying out the archaeological survey of the cave, Dr. Andrea Stone and Dr. James Brady, undertake the task of recording each and every image. In 1988, geologist George Veni found a previously unknown passage that dramatically increased the size of the cave and yielded a number of important new paintings. While recording the paintings Drs. .Brady and Gene Ware in 1999 using a multiespespectral imaging system discovered several totally unexpected cases of over-painting that are now yield to suspect that the history of the paintings is far more complex than previously thought.

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cave is a natural underground void large enough for a human to enter. Some people suggest that the term 'cave' should only apply to cavities that have some part which does not receive daylight; however, in popular usage, the term includes smaller spaces like sea caves, rock
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Motto
Unofficial: "El País de la Eterna Primavera
"Land of Eternal Spring"
Official: "Libre Crezca Fecundo"
"Grow Free and Fertile"
Anthem
Himno Nacional de Guatemala
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Petén or Peten may refer to:
  • Petén Basin– the geographical / archaeological region of Mesoamerica and a center of the Maya civilization
  • Petén (department)– a Department of Guatemala

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Motto
Unofficial: "El País de la Eterna Primavera
"Land of Eternal Spring"
Official: "Libre Crezca Fecundo"
"Grow Free and Fertile"
Anthem
Himno Nacional de Guatemala
..... Click the link for more information.
In Maya mythology Xibalba (IPA: /ʃɨbɒlbə/), roughly translated as "Place of fear",[1] is the name of the underworld, ruled by Mayan spirits of disease and death.
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