Mayan Finally Decoded?
Today, there are over six million people that speak a language that evolved out of the Maya civilization, which inhabited parts of what are now Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador for over 3,000 years. However, while spoken languages have been largely retained, the written language has not been so fortunate. Although hieroglyphs are preserved across hundreds of ancient sites, all texts except three Mayan codices were destroyed during the Spanish conquest in the 16 th century, taking with them the keys to unlocking their ancient hieroglyphic script.
At the edge of the world lies the last trace of Viking Christianity. Urnes Stave Church (c. 1130 AD) stands tall in Sognefjord in the west of Norway, yet it represents as much of an end as it does a new beginning. The church at Urnes is one of the last surviving examples of early Christian Scandinavia architecture, a rather lonely survivor which once had over 1300 siblings. Inspired primarily by the shipbuilding designs and pre-Christian mythology of the Viking culture, the northern architects of Urnes incorporated elements of Celtic and early Romanesque art. Interestingly, the method by which the Norsemen viewed these exterior artistic styles was due to those very same Viking ship
Ancient Maya Cave of Sacrifice?
Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) Natural Monument, or the “Cave of the Crystal Sepulchre,” in Belize is where archaeologists have uncovered evidence of human sacrifice rituals dating back to 3rd century AD. According to the Belize Audubon Society, the ancient Maya people believed that caves were home to gods who controlled agriculture and rain. The Maya saw caves as portals to the underworld, referred to as “Xibalba,” which translates to “the place of fear or fright.” They often believed that evil spirits, demons, and monsters were guarding the underworld, and therefore only elites and priests would be permitted access to the cave; no commoners were allowed. And yet in modern times the cave is open to any tourist willing to plunge into the underworld.