Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/419

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fail to connect the designs with the people who dwelt and worshipped in the palaces and temples of Uxmal and Palenque."

After we had rested and had examined the massive structure at the summit, myself and the missionary crept over the hill by a narrow path, through thick bushes, and found a black hole leading underground into a great cavern. This cavern, or series of vaults, was partially explored by order of government, nearly fifty years ago; but the superstitions of the Indians (who believe them haunted by the spirits of their ancestors) prevented a thorough examination. We investigated the chambers as far

TLM D419 Sculptured fragment from Palenque.jpg


as we could by the aid of a sputtering candle, and were lost in wonder at their height and extent. The old explorers mention a "cupola" of cut stones, diminishing gradually in size as they neared the top, and forming a beautiful mosaic, with an aperture through the roof of the cavern, which was supposed to lead to the temple above. This we found in the centre of the main saloon, said to be ninety feet in length, but it was divested of its cut and wrought stone. Instead, we found that the walls and floor were covered with a very hard and smooth cement.

Although these crypts may have connection with the temple