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Nestled in a quiet forest in Belize, a deep aquamarine pool holds ruins from a time when the ancient Maya turned to a "drought cult," archaeologists suggest, and hurried sacrifices to a water god to try to stave off the fall of their civilization.
At the Cara Blanca site in Belize, archaeologists report the discovery of a water temple complex: a small plaza holding the collapsed remnants of a lodge and two smaller structures. The main structure rests beside a deep pool where pilgrims offered sacrifices to the Maya water god, and perhaps also to the demons of the underworld.
The main structure rests beside a deep pool where pilgrims offered sacrifices to the Maya water god, and perhaps also to the demons of the underworld.
Divers explore sunken trees amid clouds of particulate matter in a pool at the Cara Blanca site, where Maya pilgrims once sacrificed pots, jars, and bowls.
The notion has prehistoric roots and is found worldwide, on Java as in sub-Saharan Africa, with shaman-kings credited with rainmaking and assuring fertility and good fortune. On the other hand, the king might also be designated to suffer and atone for his people, meaning that the sacral king could be the pre-ordained victim of a human sacrifice, either regularly killed at the end of his term in the position, or sacrificed in times of crisis (e.g. the Blót of Domalde).