And now for something completely different!
Photography has been prohibited for over a decade in Actun Tunichil Muknal cave. I am therefore hugely privileged to have received special permission to catalogue some of the best preserved examples of artifacts from the late classic period (700/900AD) of the Maya empire. Calcified where she / or he fell (Depending on which expert you talk to)
The Crystal Maiden lies deep within the cave. One of over a dozen sacrifices entombed here as offerings to the gods of the underworld. the lower spine shattered in what must have been an horrific death.
Below an alter containing a huge obsidian blade. The Maya would use these blades to cut part of the body in blood letting rituals called ch'ahb as a way to communicate with their gods and ancestors. These ceremonies would usually be performed by only the highest nobles, who would cut their tongues, lips and genitals, before dripping the blood on to parchment to be burnt as an offering.
Stunningly preserved architecture from Caracol, Belize. Crafted during the golden age of the Maya empire from the Classic Period which began 250AD.