A Tomb with Good Bones

The Ossuary or Tomb of the Great Priest

The Ossuary or Tomb of the Great Priest

September 26th, 2020

Today we’re taking our last look at Chichén Itzá, at the Ossuary or Tomb of the Great Priest.

The Ossuary or Tomb of the Great Priest

The Ossuary or Tomb of the Great Priest

The Ossuary or Tomb of the Great Priest

The Ossuary or Tomb of the Great Priest

Serpent Head

Serpent Head

This structure is smaller than the Temple of Kukulcan but equally captivating in its balance and form. As we often say about well-designed houses, this place has “good bones,” in more ways than one.

Serpent design detail

Serpent design detail

Built of seven layers and superimposed over previous structures, the ossuary’s four staircases are flanked by stunning serpents with open mouths resting at ground level.

Serpent Head

Serpent Head

Human bones and funerary offerings have been found in a cavern underneath the tomb, reached by an interior staircase. In front of the ossuary, a round stone platform would have been used for dances and ceremonies.

Platform for dances or ceremonies

Platform for dances or ceremonies

After all these posts about Maya civilization, I’ve only barely scratched the surface of deep history, rich culture and intricate sites around the Yucatán Peninsula. When travel resumes eventually, I hope to visit Teotihuacán and bring you more pieces of the puzzle related to the interaction of Maya and Toltec peoples. There is fierce debate about their influence on one another but a syncretic aspect of their relationship is evident in Chichen Itzá’s many depictions of the feathered serpent Kukulcan, also known as Quetzalcoatl.

Tomorrow… something small and sweet from a foreign land.

Until then,
Kelly

Photos of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together. This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you while staying close to home.

4 comments

  • Many thanks for this guided tour of a part of Yucatan. You mention the links with Teotihuacán, I remember while visiting Tikal in Guatemala, I recognized a small temple decorated in the typical style of Teotihuacán, the link between the two cities was confirmed to me by my guide. It looked as if there was some kind of embassy of the other city.

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    • So interesting! There seem to be many connections among peoples of this area that we just don’t know a lot about yet. Surely there was trade, exchange of ideas, building techniques, worship, etc. across the entire peninsula and beyond. Thank you for reading! Much appreciated and always enjoy your thoughtful comments. 🙂

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  • This has been such a great journey into the Mayan land 💖 it had really stoked my interests to try to visit the Yucatan someday, and see these sites, hopefully on cycle 🙂
    And visit Chichen Itza, irrespective of the horrors of Tzompantli …
    And if I am able to visit, I would definitely keep a copy of your epic posts Kelly, to act as a guide to these sites🙏

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    • THANK YOU, Deb!! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the posts on Mayan sites. When someone gets interested in seeing more of the world from reading my posts, it makes me so happy. Whenever you go, be sure to save time for the cenotes! They are the perfect antidote to the afternoon heat in Mexico. Thanks again and sending you my best wishes for a trip to the Yucatan someday! 🙂

      Like

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