Ancient Maya would paint unlucky people blue and throw them down a sacred well as human sacrifices. Now scientists have solved the mystery of how to make the famous blue pigment by analyzing traces on pottery left in the bottom of the well.
The Maya associated the color blue with their rain deities. When they offered sacrifices to the god Chaak, they would paint them blue in hopes he would send rain to make corn grow. The blue paint has been found on objects for a long time, but scientists have debated how the Maya created the pigment.
Now Gary Feinman, curator of anthropology at the Field Museum in Chicago, and Dean E. Arnold, a professor of anthropology at Wheaton College, have figured out the secret ingredient in the ancient Maya concoction.
The scientists studied pottery found at the bottom of the well at an important Pre-Columbian Maya site called Chichén Itzá in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. During the Postclassic Period, from around 900 A.D. to 1500 A.D., the Maya would sacrifice people and objects by throwing them into the well, a wide, naturally-formed sinkhole called the Sacred Cenote. Based on studies of bones found at the bottom, it seems most of the human sacrifices were male.
The researchers analyzed a bowl from the cenote that was used to burn incense. The pottery contained traces of Maya Blue. Scientists have long puzzled over how the ancient people created such a vivid, durable, fade-resistant pigment. They knew it contained two substances — extract from the leaves of the indigo plant and a clay mineral called palygorskite.
By examining these pigment samples under an electron microscope, the researchers were able to detect the signatures of its key ingredients.
"Nobody has ever really figured out how those two key ingredients were fused into a very stable pigment, " Feinman told LiveScience. "We think that copal, the sacred incense, may have been a third ingredient. We're arguing that heat and perhaps copal resin were the keys to fusing the indigo extract and the clay mineral. And also we have some pretty decent evidence that this was likely taking place at the edge of the cenote."
The copal incense may have been the binding agent that allowed the color to stay true for so long, Feinman said.
"One of the things that’s always been distinctive about Maya Blue is how durable and steadfast a color it is, which is unusual compared to many natural pigments, which fade a lot through time, " he said. "This may have been one reason why it was quite so durable."What does cetirizine do? What is asymptomatic mean? What is rimfire mean? What is mortgage insurance? What does dawn mean? what is the purpose of scene i with the gravedigger and his helper What does cocain do? What is the meaning of protists in science? How long does advil take to work? How to change home screen on iphone? What are the best exhaust tips? What generation are we in? What is metaphysics? Tips on how to run the lost city of gaxmoore? What does it mean when brake light comes on? What does number 7 mean? How to beat impossible tic tac toe? What does 😑 mean? What does the root greg mean? What time does fedex stop delivering? What does deflect mean? How to get mega energy in pokemon go? What does movement mean? What does lhh mean? What is my angel number? What does gonorrhea look like on a man? What does rapid mean? What tricks can a bunny learn? When should granny smith trees show green tips? How to get your hair to grow faster? How to cut down gel nail tips? What does the color white mean? What is the meaning of 1515? How to perform for tips magician sims 3? How to clean chicken? What is the meaning of a purple crystal? what to do when god has called you to be a helper How to figure percentage? who played millie helper on dick van dyke? Are there circumstances where waiters have to pay for the tips training course? Tips on how to make trees grow faster? Tips on how to appropriately breed dogs? How to cure gerd permanently? How to blanch almonds? What type of vaporizer should i buy for tricks?