The Atlantean figures, originating from pre-Columbian Mesoamerica's Toltec culture, are monumental statues representing Toltec warriors.
In a groundbreaking discovery, archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) stumbled upon an Atlantean-type sculpture during a routine survey for a new road within the archaeological bounds of Chichén Itzá.
Once a thriving Maya city, Chichén Itzá played a dominant role in the Yucatan region during the concluding phase of the Late Classic and the dawn of the Terminal Classic. Spanning across 4 square miles, historical estimates suggest the city was once teeming with nearly 35,000 residents.
An Atlantean-Type Sculpture: An Impressive Find
A significant cultural tradition of Chichén Itzá residents was the Cult of the Cenote (There is a big cenote not far from the pyramid). This sacred practice involved human offerings to the rain deity, Chaac. Participants were thrust into the city’s primary cenote, situated in its northern zone. Alongside these human offerings, precious artifacts like gold and jade trinkets were also sacrificed.
During an excavation for the Mayan Train project, the INAH team unearthed the Atlantean sculpture nestled within a Maya residential complex. These Atlantean figures, depicting humanoid statues, aren’t new to Chichén Itzá. The city’s Temple of Warriors has showcased similar treasures in the past. The newly discovered sculpture depicts a male figure, with both arms aloft, clasping an object. Standing at 90 centimeters, the statue is believed to have adorned a ceremonial altar.
The Atlantean Legacy across Mesoamerica
The Atlantean figures, originating from pre-Columbian Mesoamerica’s Toltec culture, are monumental statues representing Toltec warriors. Their post-Columbian moniker draws inspiration from European architectural tradition, referencing similar Atlas or Atalante statues.
While Tula boasts the most renowned of these figures, the inception of the Atlantean style can be traced back to the Olmecs, evidenced by a relief in Potrero Nuevo. Chichén Itzá’s Mayan artisans crafted statues in a comparable “Atlantean” fashion, and the Aztecs, too, sculpted warrior statues, evidently influenced by Tula’s Atlantean masterpieces.
The influence of Atlantean sculptures isn’t restricted to just Chichén Itzá. These figurines have left their mark across pre-Columbian cultures in Mesoamerica. Evidence can be seen in the grand statues of Toltec warriors in Tula and Atlantean relics unearthed at the Aztec stronghold of Tenochtitlan.
You can read a detailed report (in Spanish) about the discovery here.
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