Chichen Itza

El Castillo

The Jaguar Throne

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This is the jaguar throne in the inner chamber of El Castillo.

Mexican archaeologists discovered the hidden chamber during restoration of El Castillo in the 1920s and 1930s. Knowing that the Maya frequently built temples on top of existing structures, the archaeologists dug into the south side of the pyramid and encountered the side of an older pyramid. They then dug in from the north side and encountered the old structure's only staircase. Digging upward, following the staircase, they uncovered a buried chamber at what must have been pinacle of the older pyramid.

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There they found, in the center of a chamber, a perfectly preserved Chac Mool statue. The excavation also revealed another chamber beyond the first, and in the center archaeologists discovered the red jaguar throne. It is similar to the throne found in the Lower Temple of the Jaguar, though the head is facing a different direction.

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-- Chris Reeves