Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/442

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is deep blue. Liquid nitrogen has a similar appearance. Sulphuret of carbon is a white solid at -116° C., but becomes liquid when raised to -110° C. At -130° C., alcohol assumes the form of a white solid, which becomes viscous at -129°. Carbonic oxide was liquefied under similar conditions with nitrogen.


Ancient Cities in Guatemala.—Mr. A. P. Maudslay, at one of the recent meetings of the London Geographical Society, described some ruined cities in Guatemala which he had visited during parts of the winters of 1881 and 1882. At Quirigua, not a very great distance from Livingstone, the Atlantic port of the country, the ruins consist of raised terraces or mounds, usually faced with stone, and elaborately carved monoliths, representing human and animal figures, situated near them. The upright monoliths measure from three to five feet across the sides, stand from twelve to twenty-five feet out of the ground, and bear human figures, of which the heads are sculptured in high relief, and are usually surmounted by grotesque masks, whence spring elaborately carved head-dresses. The body and dress are covered with the most intricate and elaborate ornament, in which small human faces and grotesque forms frequently occur. Of the animal-shaped stones, some had curved claws and indications of armor like that of an armadillo, and held a human head, apparently the head of a woman, between their jaws. The largest of these stones, which was estimated to weigh about eighteen tons, represented a turtle, whose head was replaced by a huge grotesque human head, while in place of its tail was a life-sized figure of a woman sitting cross legged, and holding in her hand a manikin scepter somewhat resembling the children's toy of a monkey on a stick. The whole surface of the stone was covered with a profusion of ornaments. All of the monuments bore hieroglyphics and carved tablets—probably symbolical—of curious character. At Tikal, in the extreme northern part of the state, all the houses were made of stone, and coated with plaster, with walls about three feet thick, and the roofs built in the form of gables, without any attempt at an arch. The most imposing buildings are the five temples raised on almost pyramidal foundations. Beams of sapota-wood were used in supporting the building, and many of them remain in various states of preservation, while all were elaborately carved. The ruins of Usumacinta, on the river of the same name, and on the border of the Mexican State of Chiapas, were visited for the first time. The houses are more spacious than those at Tikal, and the lintel beams are of stone, and handsomely carved. One of the houses, which is described as a typical specimen, is built on a succession of terraces; the first terrace, seventy-three feet long by seventeen feet broad, has three doorways, each with a rather poorly carved stone lintel, and is finished off with a projecting cornice. Above it is a second course of eleven feet of stone-work, and over this is a hollow superstructure, looking like a pigeon-house with numerous pigeon-holes. The entire height of the building is about forty-two feet. The whole house has been covered with stucco, and painted in various colors. On the second story are three large and eight small panels, which once held human figures molded in plaster; and in the center of the "pigeon-hole" course is another panel, which once contained a figure of more than twice the size of life. Only parts of these figures now remain, but enough to indicate what they were. Inside the house is a great stone idol, twice the size of life, well carved and sitting cross legged, with its hands on its knees, like the figures of Buddha; the remains of a canopy of ornamental plaster-work were found near it. Remains of circular stone altars were found in different parts of the ruins, and earthen pots, partly filled with some half-burned resinous Substance. The Lacandone Indians, who live here, speak the Maya dialect of Yucatan, and were observed to be lighter colored than Mr. Maudslay's Indian workmen, and to have thick lips, a prominent nose, and an extraordinary receding forehead, nearly resembling the foreheads represented on the carved stones. Their only weapons, so far as Mr. Maudslay could see, were stone-tipped arrows. Their communities were often at war with each other, generally on account of the efforts of one or the other to carry off women. The pots of half-burned incense found