In 1989 archaeologist Thomas Miller discovered a remote jungle cave known as Actun Tunichil Muknal (or ATM), in the Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve in Belize. Excavations at ATM over the next decade revealed an extraordinary Mayan archaeological site that includes human skeletons and ceramics. Archaeologists say that the Mayans believed that ATM as an entrance to the underworld and came to the cave to perform sacrificial rituals.
The site became known as the Cave of the Crystal Sepulcher because calcite drip water coated the bones and artifacts with crystals and gave them a glittery appearance and cemented them to the cave floor. But the crystal coating, while pretty to look at, has made dating the bones difficult, so archaeologists relied on the pottery and believe it dates between 700 and 900 AD.
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I’ve been here! This is a must-see site while visiting Belize. The hike through the caves to the maiden is beautiful and full of smashed ritualistic pottery and blood letting materials.