Caves, Copper, and Pilgrimage: Reinterpretation of Quimistan Bell Cave in Northwestern Honduras
Author(s): Jocelyn Acosta
In 1910, A. Hooton Blackiston discovered a cave 25 miles from Naco containing a cache of 800 copper bells, a possible mosaic mask of turquoise, and other materials. Blackiston interpreted the cave as a place of worship dedicated to the bat god. Copper, however, has very rarely been reported from caves in Honduras. Metals enter Mesoamerican late in its history but quickly assume an importance equal to jade in the native value system. The only other cave known to have held copper bells is Tauleve Cave, near Lake Yojoa. The cave was known as a cache cave for a quantity of copper bells but these disappeared without being reported. Significantly, Tauleve Cave is known to have been a pilgrimage center of such importance that the Lenca in the area were known as the Taulepa. Interestingly, some of the copper bells from the Cenote of Sacrifice at Chichen Itza, another pilgrimage location, are reportedly from Quimistan. Copper bells may have assumed such importance that they were reserved as offerings only for the most important pilgrimages. I propose that the Quimistan Bell Cave was a pilgrimage center, possibly serving the people of ancient Naco.
Cite this Record
Caves, Copper, and Pilgrimage: Reinterpretation of Quimistan Bell Cave in Northwestern Honduras. Jocelyn Acosta. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444012)
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min long: -95.032; min lat: 15.961 ; max long: -86.506; max lat: 21.861 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21736