Chichen Itzá: Mayan Cultural Identity

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Chichen Itzá it the most iconic symbols of Mayan cultural heritage and identity. It is perhaps the largest intact Mayan Civilization ruin that is accessible in modern times.
According to the book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel around the fifth century, early Itzá settlers arrived in the region of Bakhalal, and founded Uc and Abnal which was later coined Chichen Itzá. They soon abandoned this cite for Chakanputun, where they are believed to have stayed for about three centuries. After being expelled from Chakanputun in 848 A.D., a group of Itzaes returned to Chichen Itzá and reestablished themselves in the city and brought back hybrid Toltec influences (Herrera 3). Chichen Itzá lies in the north central part of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, surrounded
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Alongside the Carnegie Institution and Mexican government, he worked to consolidate many of the structures that were still standing. By the 1920s Chichen Itzá had been featured in two National Geographic articles written by Morley who had also conducted his own research of the site in hopes to generate international awareness for Chichen Itzá and its residents, so it could be restored to its previous glory. Following the Harvard University Peabody Museum’s instillation of artifacts excavated from the Cenote Sagrada, also known as the Sacred Well, the artistic traditions of Chichen Itzá was brought to a modern and foreign audience. The exhibit promoted the site as a hot tourism location for the western elite. Due to Chichen Itzá’s new international tourism status, Mexican president Porfirio Díaz called for the development of new infrastructure in order to rebrand the area. Governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto later facilitated an infrastructural project in order to not only open up Maya Yucatán to the rest of the country for increased tourism purposes, but to also give the local population access to the outside world (Barry 5-6). Today, archeologists are still excavating the wonders that lie within Chichen Itzá. In February of 2018, archeologists began excavating a secret tunnel thought to lead beneath El Castillo in hopes to discover an underwater cavern that was central to Mayan spirituality (Tutton). Excavation, preservation, and reconstruction at Chichen Itzá is likely to continue into the future as the site is still a mystery to the world. Archeologists are still searching for answers to questions they’ve held since Chichen Itzá’s first excavation. Why did the ancient Mayans choose the sites for the famed pyramids around cenotes? Why did Chichen Itzá
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