Loltun Cave is a cave in the Mexican state of Yucatán, approximately 5 km south of Oxkutzcab. The Loltun Cave contains paintings attributed to the Maya civilization from the Late Preclassic Era or even older.
The name is Mayan for “Flower Stone” (“Lol-Tun”).
Among the most important finds made in Loltún are evidence of human settlements dating back to the Pleistocene and cave paintings (including negative human hands, faces, animals, and stepped fretwork).
In the cave also were found Mayan sculptures and tools, and even bones of bison, mammoth, and saber-toothed tiger, which represent evidence of the climatological changes to which the area has been subjected.
The Loltún Caves are equipped to be easily explored along their 2 km length. It is estimated that although the caves have a total extension of 8 to 10 km only the 2km that are open to the public have been explored.
Loltun Cave maintains a warm climate even though it reaches a depth of 65 m, probably influenced by the presence of many openings or entrances. These holes facilitate air circulation, allowing outside air to enter the cave.
The openings also contribute to the overall environmental conditions within the cave, affecting factors such as humidity and air quality. This makes the exploration of the cave more comfortable despite its depth.
However, it is necessary to enter accompanied by a guide.
At a depth of almost 60 m and a length of more than 700 m, pottery, stone artifacts, sea shells, and petroglyphs were found – all objects corresponding to the Mayan culture at different stages of its development.
Remains of extinct animals have also been found, such as mammoths, and bison. This indicates a period of cold climate and vegetation different from the current one, characteristic of a warm and humid environment.
Above these was a level on which stone tools produced by the first inhabitants of the peninsula appeared.
From the Preclassic period, the bas-relief known as the Warrior of Loltún stands out, located at the Nahkab (hive) entrance, which seems to be emerging from the caves and is believed to be the god of the underworld.
In this room, the metates that were used to grind vegetable grains testify to the human activity that sheltered its walls.
From the Classic and Postclassic periods, a series of cultural elements can be observed.
Visitors can observe cave paintings with motifs of hands, faces, animals, fretwork, or inscriptions and a great variety of petroglyphs among which those with flower motifs stand out, from which it takes its name the place.
From the 19th century, there were barricades built by Mayan rebels who took refuge in several caves in the region during the so-called Caste War, which lasted in Yucatan from 1847 to 1901.
You can admire the many other travertine formations that, due to their suggestive and whimsical shapes, the popular imagination has baptized them with peculiar names such as The Cathedral, The Gallery of the Canyon, The Corn Cob, The Room of Stalactites, etc.
For example, the Musical Colonnade Room stands out, formed by the union of stalactites and stalagmites that when hit produce sounds with different tones, or a gallery with its collapsed vault, through whose cavity the roots of the trees and the sunlight.
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