Notes: Virgin maiden sacrifices

Scott Peck in “Further Along the Road Less Travelled” recounts the story of archaeologist Edward Thompson:

“At the turn of the nineteenth century, Thompson heard an old Mayan legend about a well used for the drowning of virgins — who had possibly first been loaded down with gold jewellery so they would sink — as part of a sacrifice to the god of rain, who supposedly lived at the bottom of the well. And he decided he was going to find that well, even though people said, ‘It’s just a silly legend. There’s no such well. It never really existed.’
Thompson went to Mexico, where he learned about a great ruined Mayan city, deep in the Yucatan jungle, called Chichen Itza, which means ‘the Mouth of the Well’. He bought a plantation near the ruins and soon discovered that there were two huge wells or cenotes in the area. After analysing the ruins he guessed that the larger one, about sixty yards in diameter might be is quarry. He then went back home to Boston, frantically raised money from all his friends, bought dredging equipment and deepsea diving apparatus, and even learned how to dive himself.
His dredging efforts proved futile; year after year, all he and his labourers dug up was running out, after about five years of effort, he dove down himself out of desperation and found the first bones. In fact, he discovered an entire cache of archaeological remains, including a lot of gold jewellery. He recouped his borrowed fortune and his self-respect. He had proved that the legend of virgins bedecked with jewellery and thrown into a well was in fact a true story after all.”

Source: Further Along The Road Less Travelled, chap. 6, by Scott Peck

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