The Mayans may have turned important people into balls for sport after they died, according to some new archaeological evidence found in a Mayan crypt in Mexico.
The crypt is located in the pyramids of the ruins of the ancient city of Tonina and is believed to have been built during the 7th or 8th century. According to the Atlasobscura travel website, "the terraced acropolis sits 71 meters atop a steep hillside overlooking the Great Plaza, two traditional Mesoamerican ball courts and the expansive Ocosingo Valley below."
Archaeologist Juan Yadeun has hypothesized that the Mayans had this ritual with the elite dead, but now new evidence may prove that he was right.
Human ash and rubber
In the crypt, the archaeologists found 400 vessels containing human ash mixed with rubber and roots which could be a stage in the forming of the balls.
“Just as Egyptians tried to preserve bodies, we know where they were transformed in another way – for example, in death bundles,” said Yadeun. “We also have evidence they were incorporated into balls. During the Classic Period the balls were gigantic. The evidence shows they were big.”
“In the ball game court we have evidence that indicates these lords 'came back to life' 260 days later. They came out of the death cave.”Juan Yadeun