X

Water Temple Reveals 'Drought Cult' of Mayans

As dry spell worsened, offerings to gods increased
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2015 2:10 PM CST
Updated Jan 27, 2015 2:35 PM CST
Water Temple Reveals 'Drought Cult' of Mayans
File photo of a Mayan calendar.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Mayans appear to have been done in by a series of severe droughts, and archaeologists now think that something called a "drought cult" sprang up when things were most desperate, reports National Geographic. Researchers led by Lisa Lucero of the University of Illinois have found a water temple in the forest of Belize at which Mayans from all over Central America left offerings to their gods with one plea in mind: Make it rain. "The pilgrims came there to purify themselves and to make offerings," says Lucero. "It was a special place with a sacred function."

story continues below

In a soon-to-be-published report in the Cambridge Archaeological Journal, Lucero and a co-author will report that offerings at the Cara Blanca temple increased as the Mayan drought widened. The empire disappeared about 800AD, and previous research suggests a fateful twist preceded the collapse: Long before the droughts appeared, "high rainfall likely led to a Maya population boom" that lasted until 660AD, reports the Geographic. "That in turn set up their kingdoms for a fall when the rain stopped." (An explorer recently found a Mayan "monster mouth city.")

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
X
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.

X