26 February 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

The Splendor of the Seven Descending Gods of Tulum Resurfaced

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) says the splendor of the seven Descending Gods of Tulum has resurfaced. The work consisted of cleaning, adhesion of fragments, filling of gaps, patching, and color reintegration.

In December 2023, the restoration stage of the seven figures of descending gods and murals of the Conservation Project of Movable Assets Associated with Real Estate, of the Archaeological Zone of Tulum, in Quintana Roo, was completed, as part of the Archaeological Zones Improvement Program (Promeza), within the framework of the Mayan Train works.

During this project, the conservation-restoration of the mural painting and the stucco and flattened reliefs of the most emblematic buildings of the site was carried out. Those included the temples of the Frescos and the Descending God, the houses of Chultún and Halach Uinic (Palace of the Great Lord), and El Castillo, in which representations of said deity are preserved.

Tulum’s buildings date from A.D. 1250-1550, but features from earlier periods, such as a stela from A.D. 564, have also been discovered. As a result, INAH believes the city may have been founded earlier, possibly as a dependent territory of the nearby Tankah ruins.

Tulum is believed to have been dedicated to Venus. Some building facades feature figures of a descending god depicted upside down, who is associated with the sunset and believed to be connected to the planet. The entrances to structures with descending god figures are said to face the direction in which Venus sets.

Little is known about the Descending God. However, the Descending God is associated with Ah Muu Zen Caab, the Maya God of Bees. This is not surprising, considering that honey was the staple export commodity in the Mayan trade between Tulum and Cobá.

Photo: INAH

The person responsible for the restoration project, Patricia Meehan Hermanson, explained that the descending god was the emblematic figure of the Costa Maya Oriental region in Quintana Roo.

Restaurateur Jesús Antonio Muñoz Cinta, who is part of the team, explained that its typical contorted position evokes a falling human body whose legs are open and flexed upward.

“The torso, from its back, is perceived partially or completely, the arms semi-arched, downward, holding some object, and the head almost always faces the viewer. Some of his attributes and attire tend to vary,” he said.

“Although images of characters in a descending position have been located in various areas of Mesoamerica, it is on the Eastern Coast where it takes a leading place, modeled in stucco attached to the architecture of several buildings in places such as Tulum, Cobá and Tancah, in addition having been represented in ceramics, codices and mural painting, during the Postclassic period (900-1542 AD),” he added.

During the field season that has just concluded, the seven descending gods found to date in Tulum were preserved. Other restoration projectes included Building 16 or Temple of the Frescoes where two were restored.

In Building 25 or House of Halach Huinik, one of the best preserved and most striking is located. Another is in the Temple of the Descending God, the best known in Tulum for giving its name to Building 5, which also preserves a high percentage of its body and the painting that decorated it. The remains of one more were found in a niche in Building 20.

In Building 1 or The Castle has two more figures, one is in the center of the temple frieze, and the other, below in the vaulted hallway, as part of a complex scene in a wall painting.

INAH

Cover Photo: INAH

Related Articles

Anatolia’s largest olive oil factory unearthed

14 January 2022

14 January 2022

A Roman-era olive oil factory has been unearthed during excavations in the İskenderun district of Hatay. It has been reported...

5,000 years old Mother Goddess statuette unearthed in Yeşilova Mound

25 October 2023

25 October 2023

A Mother Goddess statuette, determined to be 5 thousand years old, was found during the excavations carried out in the...

Archaeologists have discovered another exceptional find in Mérida

12 August 2023

12 August 2023

In Mérida, Spain, archaeologists recently discovered an “enormous” Roman bath. But it is that inside these baths, in the area...

Famous Egyptologist Zahi Hawass Wants to See Hieroglyphs as an İntegral Part of The Curriculum

23 February 2021

23 February 2021

The Egyptian council of ministers is discussing the introduction of archaeological and tourist materials in the education curriculum to help...

The identities of the occupants of the unspoiled 4th-century BCE Royal Tombs at Vergina in northern Greece have been identified

26 January 2024

26 January 2024

The identities of the occupants of the unspoiled 4th-century BCE Royal Tombs at Vergina in northern Greece have been identified....

Byzantine monk chained with iron rings unearthed near Jerusalem

4 January 2023

4 January 2023

A skeleton chained with iron rings was discovered at Khirbat el-Masani, about four kilometers northwest of Jerusalem, along the ancient...

Archaeologists have unearthed two early Aksumite Churches in Africa

11 December 2022

11 December 2022

New discoveries in the port city of Adulis on Eritrea’s Red Sea coast show that two ancient churches discovered more...

A Viking ship discovered at Salhushaugen Cemetery in Norway

22 April 2023

22 April 2023

Archaeologists in Norway, a 20-meter-long Viking ship has been discovered using georadar on a mound previously believed to be empty....

Archaeologists opened an untouched Etruscan tomb

31 October 2023

31 October 2023

In Vulci Archaeological Park, central Italy, a 2,600-year-old intact double-chambered Etruscan tomb that was discovered in April and had remained...

Minoan civilization may have used celestial navigation techniques

3 March 2023

3 March 2023

According to a study done by an American researcher at the University of Wales, ancient civilizations may have used celestial...

Archeologists Discover Two Sphinxes measure 26 feet in length in Egyptian Ruins

21 January 2022

21 January 2022

Archeologists have discovered the remains of two huge sphinx statues, each measuring 26 feet in length, at the funerary temple...

Archaeologists conducting excavations at the Roman Fort of Apsaros in Georgia, found evidence of the Legion X Fretensis

27 May 2023

27 May 2023

Polish scientists discovered that Legion X Fretensis, known for its brutal suppression of Jewish uprisings, was stationed in the early...

Archaeologists find a Roman military watchtower in Morocco for the first time

7 November 2022

7 November 2022

A Roman military watchtower the first of its kind was discovered by a team of Polish and Moroccan archaeologists in...

Neanderthals of the North

13 May 2022

13 May 2022

Were Neanderthals really as well adapted to life in the cold as previously assumed, or did they prefer more temperate...

A sanctuary for Cult God Mithras discovered in Germany

13 April 2023

13 April 2023

A place of worship for the Roman god of light, Mithras, was discovered during archaeological excavations in Trier, in southwestern...