Chichen Itza was a large pre-columbian city built by the Mayans during the Terminal Classic period. The archaeological site is located in the municipality of Tinúm, State of Yucatan, Mexico. Chichen Itza was one of the largest Mayan cities and was probably one of the great mythical cities, or Tollanes, mentioned in later Mesoamerican literature.
Chichen Itza was a major focal point in the northern Mayan lowlands from the end of the Classic (around 600-900 AD) until the end of the Classic (around 800-900 AD) and until the first part from the post-classical period (around 900 AD) – 1200). The site presents a multitude of architectural styles, recalling the styles observed in central Mexico and the Puuc and Chenes styles of the lowlands of the northern Maya.
The presence of central Mexican styles was once considered to be representative of direct migration or even the conquest of central Mexico, but most contemporary interpretations consider the presence of these non-Mayan styles more as the result of cultural diffusion. The city had perhaps the most diverse population in the Mayan world, a factor that could have contributed to the variety of architectural styles on the site.
The ruins of Chichen Itza are federal property and the site is managed by the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia du Mexico (National Institute of Anthropology and History). The land under the monuments was private property until March 29, 2010, when it was purchased by the State of Yucatán. Chichen Itza is located in the eastern part of the state of Yucatán in Mexico. The northern Yucatán peninsula is arid, and the rivers in the interior are all underground.
There are four natural and visible sink holes, called cenotes, which could have provided abundant water all year round in Chichen, which makes it attractive for colonization. Among these cenotes, the “Cenote Sagrado” or Sacred Cenote (also known as Sacred Well or Well of Sacrifice), is the most famous.
A study of the human remains taken from the Cenote Sagrado revealed that they had wounds compatible with human sacrifice. In 2015, scientists determined that there was a cenote hidden under Kukulkan, which has never been seen by archaeologists. According to post-conquest sources (Mayan and Spanish), the pre-Columbian Mayans sacrificed objects and human beings in the cenote as a form of worship to the Mayan rain god Chaac. Edward Herbert Thompson dredged the Cenote Sagrado from 1904 to 1910 and recovered gold, jade, pottery and incense artifacts, as well as human remains.