The Archaeological Institute of America has published their top 10 list of the most important archaeological discoveries of 2008 via the Archaeology Magazine. Here’s the list;
- Sacred Maya Blue – Chichén Itzá, Mexico
- Wari Masked Mummy – Lima, Peru
- Kuttamuwa’s Soul – Zincirli, Turkey
- American Genes – North America
- Oldest Oil Paintings – Bamiyan, Afghanistan
- First European – Atapuerca, Spain
- Earliest Shoes – Tianyuan Cave, China
- Portuguese Indiaman – Namibia
- Imperial Colossi – Sagalassos, Turkey
- Origins of Whaling – Chukotka Peninsula, Russia
In Pure Spirit is pleased that the Maya Blue pigment made the list. Blue was a sacred colour to the ancient Mayans and associated with sacrifice and deities. In particular, blue was the colour of Chaac the rain god.
Unlike Chinese blue and Egyptian blue, Mayan blue is stable and retains its colour even after hundreds of years and weather conditions.
In 1904 the archaelogist Edward Thompson dredged the Sacred Cenote at Chichén Itzá he found a 14 foot thick layer of blue silt. This is now believed to be the gathered remains of Maya Blue washed off thousands of sacrificial objects. It is thought that sacrifical objects would have been heated by the ancient Mayans, then painted or brushed with blue dye before being thrown into green water.
Chaac represented each of the four cardinal directions and each of the four cardinals had their own Chaac – a synchronicity common with Maya deities.
He was the patron of agriculture and carried a lightening axe. He was also associated with maize.
The rain is Chaac’s tears of regret.
In Pure Spirit
What do you think? Which is the most important of the ten discoveries above or would you suggest an alternative discovery?