Wednesday, April 07, 2010

corn flakes on the brain


A century ago, the bowl was dredged from the Sacred Cenote, a natural sinkhole well, at Chichen Itza, a key urban center late in Maya history. They found that copal, a tree resin burned as incense, also was part of the Maya blue concoction.

And they concluded that the pigment was made by mixing the ingredients over low heat in rituals performed on the edge of the sinkhole. That was bad news for human sacrificial victims.

Feinman said that human sacrifice was part of rituals appealing to the Maya rain god Chaak -- depicted on some Maya structures with a unique elongated, curled nose -- to deliver rain for crops such as corn.

During the rituals conducted on the edge of the cenote at Chichen Itza, Feinman said, the Maya seem to have produced the pigment and painted items like pottery that would be tossed into the water as offerings to the god.

And, he added, they also would paint people being offered as human sacrifices blue and heave them into the sinkhole. Feinman said about 120 sets of human remains have been dredged from the sinkhole, along with lots of ceremonial objects.

"Adult males may have had their hearts removed before they were dumped in," Feinman said.

Feinman said at the bottom of the cenote, a layer 14 feet

deep of blue goo has been found, likely composed of pigment that washed off sacrificial victims and objects.

"The Maya used indigo, copal incense and palygorskite for medicinal purposes," said anthropologist Dean Arnold of Wheaton College and the Field Museum, who also worked on the study.

"So, what we have here are three healing elements that were combined with fire during the ritual at the edge of the Sacred Cenote. The result created Maya blue, symbolic of the healing power of water in an agricultural community," Arnold said.
looks like this By Will Dunham
Dean Kamen inventor of Segway and super advanced arms for Vets.

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