Dozens of black and red hand prints cover the walls of a cave in Mexico, believed to be associated with a coming-of-age ritual of the ancient Maya, according to an archeologist who has explored and studied the subterranean cavern.
Archeologist Sergio Grosjean argues that the hand prints were likely made by children as they entered puberty, due to a analysis of their size, with the colors providing a clue to their meaning.
1/3 Hand prints, reportedly 1,200 years old, are seen on the cave walls, in Merida, Mexico April 2021, in this screengrab taken from a handout video.
"Afterwards, these children imprinted their hands in red, which was a reference to war or life," he added.
Several million Maya continue to live in communities scattered across southeastern Mexican states like Chiapas and Campeche, in addition to Guatemala and Belize.
Sergio Grosjean, SERGIO GROSJEAN, Handout
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Mexico, Central, Yucatan, Chichen Itza, Merida, Chiapas, Campeche, Guatemala, Belize