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Location Loltun Grottoes

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Loltun Grottoes

Location: Oxkutzcab  |  Yucatan  |  Mexico

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Language: Spanish
The tour begins at the entrance of Nahkab, or hive, where is located the famous bas-relief known as The Warrior Loltún, which seems to be emerging from the caves and is believed to be the god of the underworld. Another attraction of great interest are the paintings: a wall one can see negative hands, in another more elaborated paintings depicting faces, animals and stepped frets. In the various halls, galleries and chambers-nearly 60 m depth and along more than 700 m long, were found various antiquities, ceramics, stone artifacts, seashells, petroglyphs, for Maya culture various stages of development.

At Loltun, the visitor can learn the natural and cultural history of the Northern Maya Lowlands within a 10,000 years period, from the late Pleistocene to Contemporary times. In one of its cavities, locally known as "Huechil" (from the Maya "Huech": armadillo), archaeological excavations were carried out, and in one of its lowest levels, extinct animal remains were found: mammoth, bison, feline and other animal bones, indicating a colder climate period with a different environment to that of the present. Man made stone tools appeared in a superior level, probably produced by th first Peninsula's inhabitants.

Other material remains have been found in this and other parts of the grout including pottery, marine shells, stone artifacts, bas-relief carvings, petro glyphs and mural paintings, corresponding to the distinct development stages of the Maya Culture. From the Formative period (600 B.C. - 150 A.D.) stands out the bas-relief carving known as "The Loltun Warrior", located in Nahkab (beehive) entrance, presenting inherited traits from ancient Olmecs. From Classic (150 - 900 A.D.) and Post classic (900 A.D. to 16th century) can be observed cultural features such as mural paintings representing hands, faces, animals, geometric motifs and inscriptions; "Haltunes" or artificial containers carved in the rock for gathering natural dripping water (suhuy-ha); as well as many petro glyphs, standing out those with flower motifs, which gave the name to the cavern. There are also 19th century barricades constructed by rebel Mayas who sheltered in this and other southern Yucatan caves during the so called "War of Castes"

One of the largest and most studied caves in the Yucatan. Loltun meaning "flower stone" in Mayan is of major historial relevance. Mammoth bones, frescos and fossils dating back to 8,000BC have been found. The cave carries unsolved mysteries unearthed by a small 1962 expedition claiming to have discovered a virtual museum of the ice age deep within the cave. Ancient Mayan legend says deep within this cave is a land of artificial light, plenty of fresh water, fish and plant life. People who decended into this land where never seen again. Tours of the cave are necessary and start every 1 1/2 hours.


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