A Wind from the Depths of the Earth

Author(s): Allan Cobb; Jeremy Coltman

Year: 2015


Among the hundreds of caves I have observed in the Maya area a number stand out in possessing relatively large tunnel systems with restrictions near the entrances. When air is driven from the caves due to atmospheric pressure, the restrictions create a fast moving flow of air that is quite noticeable around the entrance to the cave. Ethnographic evidence suggests that modern Maya are quite aware of such air movements. Because rain was closely associated with caves among the ancient Maya and wind was closely associated with rain, there can be little doubt that the presence of cave wind held significance prehistorically. Iconographically, the IK or wind sign can also indicate a cave. On Chenes monster-mask façades, the mouth, which is recognized as a cave symbol, takes the form of the IK sign. This paper argues that recording the presence of air currents should be considered an indispensable part of recording any cave.

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Cite this Record

A Wind from the Depths of the Earth. Allan Cobb, Jeremy Coltman. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395425)


Caves Maya wind

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;