February 9, 2019

A Perfectly Perfectly Maya Steam Bath Uncovered at the Site of Nakum in Guatemala

Polish archaeologists have uncovered an ancient steam bath at the Maya site of Nakum in Guatemala dated at 700-300 BCE. The Maya associated baths and caves with the emergence of gods and humans, as entrances to the underworld, and with water and fertility.

The sweat bath had a tunnel to drain away excess water and had stone seating around the bath. Large stones were heated near a fireplace so that water could be poured over the stones for steam. A roof of wood, stones and mortar was built over the bath. The bath was filled over with lime and rubble at the end, perhaps due to dynastic changes at the site. This steam bath is the most perfectly preserved Maya steam bath ever found.

The Polish team at the site have been excavating at Nakum for more than 12 years, and have uncovered graves, temples, palaces, residential buildings, a polychrome frieze and an untouched royal tomb.

Archaeology News Network has the report here with good photos;

Mike Ruggeri’s Ancient Maya News on Tumblr

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