Herodotus Returns


Ancient Maya used marine fossils in funerary ritual
June 15, 2010, 6:09 am
Filed under: Mayan | Tags: , ,

Fantastic news story about the Maya. A three year multidisciplinary project – archaeology and geology – has studied the use of marine fossils in funerary contexts. The headlines say, ‘Mayans knew about prehistory.’ Which is a bit of an exaggeration. But, that’s not the point. The point is that they based their myths about the watery underworld and the fact that the world was born from a primordial ocean on empirical evidence. I love when we find hard-science explanations for the ineffable and irrational.

For Palenque inhabitants, marine fossils were the convincing proof of the land being covered by the sea long time ago, and parting from this fact they created their idea of the origin of the world, declared archaeologist Martha Cuevas, responsible, with geologist Jesus Alvarado, of research conducted by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

More on the marine fossils.

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