Abstract: Death and Sacrifice at Midnight Terror Cave


Midnight Terror Cave was named by Mennonites who were called in the middle of the night to rescue a badly injured looter who had fallen from a slippery ledge and plunged into the cave.  When the Belizean Institute of Archaeology investigated, they found more human skeletons than had ever been reported from a Maya cave.  This led to the cave being featured in Cave of the Headless Corpse on the Discovery Channel’s Bone Detective.  Dr. James Brady has just completed a three year investigation of Midnight Terror Cave that documented extensive modifications of the cave by the ancient Maya as well as evidence of a devastating earthquake that in one moment destroyed much of what the Maya had built.  Finally, Dr. Brady will discuss an emerging view of human sacrifice among the Maya.


Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic:

James E. Brady, 2011. The Maya’s Sacred Caves.  American Archaeology 15 (2):12-19.

James E. Brady, 2010. Offerings to the Rain Gods: The Archaeology of Maya Caves. In Fiery Pool: The Maya and the Mythic Sea, edited by Daniel Finamore and Stephen D. Houston, pp.220-223.  Peabody Essex Museum and Yale University Press, New Haven.

James E. Brady and Keith M. Prufer (eds.), 2005. In the Maw of the Earth Monster: Mesoamerican Ritual Cave Use. University of Texas Press, Austin.

Keith M. Prufer and James E. Brady (eds.), 2005. Stone Houses and Earth Lords: Maya Religion in the Cave Context. University Press of Colorado.




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