Like our Facebook page Follow us on Twitter See our videos on YouTube Follow us on Pinterest

 

Belize Adventure Travel Blog
   

Adventure Blog

 

 

 

 

Decoding the Secrets of the Belize ATM Cave      

 | Clicks: 375

 
One of the most mysterious archeological sites on the planet is located deep within the jungles of Belize. Now known as Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Cave, this vast underground labyrinth was abandoned and forgotten about for more than 1,000 years. Only accidentally rediscovered in the 1980s, the cave is proving to be a treasure trove of information not just about the ancient Maya but also about climate change. 
 
It's easy to see why the Spanish and other European colonizers failed to find ATM Cave. The only way to get in is to swim across a spring-fed pool, navigate an underground river, and descend more than 400 meters (a quarter of a mile) beneath the surface. But once inside, a grand treasure revealed itself, an enormous stone sepulcher carved by ancient Maya priests out of the natural rock. 
 
The diverse collection of religious artifacts, pottery, and weapons would be more than enough to excite archeologists, but the greatest secret of the cave lies much further in. Only after more than an hour of navigating one's way ever deeper into the earth does ATM's namesake become visible. In the local Maya tongue, Actun Tunuchil Muknal means "Cave of the Crystal Maiden." In the last chamber of the cave, the remains of more than a dozen people who were sacrificed still lie, including the skeleton of a young woman whose bones have taken on a glittery, crystalline sheen. 
 
Archeologists now believe that the 14 people who were sacrificed, including very young children, gave their lives to appease the Maya gods around the year 900 A.D., a time of vast cultural changes in the Maya world. Experts now believe that the ancient priests led so many people into ATM Cave and through the difficult passages in order to reach the entrance to Xibalba, the Maya underworld or "hell." 
 
It was believed that sacrifices made directly to the Lords of Hell were more prestigious and thus would be honored by the Maya gods, particularly Chaac, the deity of rain. At the time, the Maya were facing what would now be called climate change, an era of vast and rapid changes in the weather and amount of rainfall. However, despite the human sacrifices, Maya civilization soon collapsed, and most of the stone cities across Belize that were inhabited for thousands of years were then abandoned. 
 
If you'd like to explore the mysteries of ATM Cave for yourself, be sure to book your tour with Caves Branch Jungle Lodge.

6 reasons to visit belize with your family  About Belize  Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave  adventure tours  affordable winter destinations in belize  all inclusive belize  All Inclusive Family  Article  atm cave  ATM Cave Tour  Awards & Press  belize  belize activities  Belize Adventure  Belize Adventure Tours  Belize Adventure Travel  Belize All Inclusive  belize all inclusive honeymoon  Belize Birding  belize birding guides belize birding tours  belize birding resorts  belize birding tours  belize birding trips  belize birding vacations  belize birds  Belize Black Hole Drop  Belize Botanical Gardens  Belize Cave Tours  Belize Cave Tubing  Belize Caves  Belize Conservation  Belize Destinations  Belize Diving  Belize Eco Tours  Belize EcoTourism  belize family adventure  belize family destinations  belize family resorts  belize family resorts belize family vacation packages  belize family vacation  belize family vacation destination  belize family vacation packages  Belize Family Vacations  Belize Fauna  Belize Flora  belize for winter  Belize Gardens  Belize Honeymoon  belize honeymoon package  belize honeymoon packages  belize honeymoon resorts  belize honeymoons  Belize Horseback Riding  Belize Jungle  Belize Jungle Lodge  belize jungle resorts  Belize Kayaking  Belize Mayan Ruins  Belize Orchids  Belize Rainforest  Belize Rainforest Tours  Belize Resorts  Belize Snorkeling  belize tours  Belize Travel  belize travel news  Belize Tree Houses  belize trip  belize vacation packages  belize vacation packages all inclusive families  Belize Vacations  Belize Weather  Belize Wildife  belize winter escape  belize with kids  Belize Zip Line  Belizean Food  Best Destinations to Visit in the World  best things to do in belize  bird watching in belize  birding  birding in belize  birds of belize  Cave Tours of ATM  caves Branch  Caves Branch Botanical Gardens  caves branch jungle lodge  Caves Branch News  CB Recipes  Cheese Making  Cheese Making Workshops  Community Involvement  Community Service  Contest  discover magazine  family fun in belize  family vacations in belize  honeymoon belize  honeymoon in belize  honeymoon packages to belize  How to get to Caves Branch Jungle Lodge  How to get to Ian Anderson Caves Branch Jungle Lodge  How to Make Cheese  Ian Anderson Caves Branch News  Lonely Planet  Rainforest Belize  Recipes  Reviews & Guest Stories  Senior Adventures  Singles Adventure Travel  Solo Travelers  spring break adventure  spring break belize  spring break destinations  spring break holidays  spring break in belize  summer family travel  Summer in Belize  things to do in belize  top things to do in belize  Tours  travel to belize  Vacation Packages  Videos  visit belize  What to do in Belize  where to stay in belize  why visit belize  winter in belize 
Book Online Now!