More than 100 handprints of children have been found in a Mexican cave made some 1,200 years ago

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More than 100 black and red handprints have been discovered on the walls of a cave in Mexico that may have been made during an ancient Mayan ritual.

Archaeologists say that most of the 137 prints were made by children about 1,200 years ago and believe it was part of an adulthood ritual when children entered puberty.

The cave, located near the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, is surrounded by large pyramid-shaped ruins and sits about 10 meters below a ceiba tree considered sacred in Mayan beliefs.

Archaeologist Sergio Grosjean, who works at the site, said, “ They pressed their hands in black on the walls … which symbolized death, but that didn’t mean they were going to be killed, but rather death from a ritual perspective. ‘

‘Afterwards these children printed their hands in red, which was a reference to war or life.’

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More than 100 black and red handprints have been discovered on the walls of a cave in Mexico that may have been made during an ancient Mayan ritual.  Archaeologists say that most of the 137 prints were made by children about 1,200 years ago and believe it was part of an adulthood ritual when children entered puberty.

More than 100 black and red handprints have been discovered on the walls of a cave in Mexico that may have been made during an ancient Mayan ritual. Archaeologists say that most of the 137 prints were made by children about 1,200 years ago and believe it was part of an adulthood ritual when children entered puberty.

The Maya rite of passage held rituals for both boys and girls.

For girls of the tribe, they were given a shell around their waist that indicated a rightful age for having children.

However, boys went on their first hunt and performed a bloodletting ritual to confirm that they could be considered men within their culture.

After they completed the ritual, they got a white bead in their hair and lived in a separate place known as the ‘home of unmarried men’ until marriage.

Experts say the black prints represent death and the red symbolizes life or war, as the boys were now old enough to hunt and go to war.

Experts say the black prints represent death and the red symbolizes life or war, as the boys were now old enough to hunt and go to war.

The cave, located near the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, is surrounded by large pyramid-shaped ruins and sits about 10 meters below a ceiba tree considered sacred in Mayan beliefs

The cave, located near the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, is surrounded by large pyramid-shaped ruins and sits about 10 meters below a ceiba tree considered sacred in Mayan beliefs

Handprints in a cave have not yet been discovered by experts, but Grosjean argues that since most are from children, the prints must have been made during a coming-of-age ritual.

Along with the handprints, archaeologists found a carved face and six painted relief sculptures, which date back to between AD 800 and 1000, a time when severe drought hit the region and may have contributed to the classical Mayans’ sudden abandonment of major cities.

Although the first Maya settlements are nearly 4,000 years old, large centers still existed when the Spanish conquerors arrived in the early 16th century.

And experts are still discovering the hidden wonders.

In June 2020, archaeologists discovered a 3,000-year-old Mayan temple, making it the oldest and largest monument of the ancient civilization.

The temple site in Tabasco, Mexico, was discovered by archaeologists on an international team led by the University of Arizona during an expedition in 2017.

Handprints in a cave have not yet been discovered by experts, but Grosjean argues that since most are from children, the prints must have been made during a coming-of-age ritual

Handprints in a cave have not yet been discovered by experts, but Grosjean argues that since most are from children, the prints must have been made during a coming-of-age ritual

Although the first Maya settlements are nearly 4,000 years old, large centers still existed when the Spanish conquerors arrived in the early 16th century.  And experts are still discovering the hidden wonders.  In June 2020, archaeologists discovered a 3,000-year-old Mayan temple, making it the oldest and largest monument of the ancient civilization

Although the first Maya settlements are nearly 4,000 years old, large centers still existed when the Spanish conquerors arrived in the early 16th century. And experts are still discovering the hidden wonders. In June 2020, archaeologists discovered a 3,000-year-old Mayan temple, making it the oldest and largest monument of the ancient civilization

The site, called Aquada Fénix, is 4,600 feet long and up to 15 meters high, making it taller than the Mayan pyramids and palaces of later periods.

It was built between 800 BC and 1000 BC, according to the team behind the discovery.

One of the most notable revelations of the find was the complete lack of stone sculptures related to rulers and elites, such as colossal heads and thrones, often seen in other Mayan temples.

This suggests that the people who built it were more egalitarian than later generations of Mayans.

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