A detail of the serpent-columns of the Upper Temple of the Jaguars, overlooking Chichen Itza's Great Ballcourt. This building houses some of the most interesting mural paintings in Chichen. The curious, un-Maya style of the columns has been taken to signal intense contacts with non-Maya groups. At one time, there was even the widely-held notion that the distant Toltecs had taken over Chichen and most of the Yucatan. But better understanding of the Mesoamerican past has led many scholars to discard this idea in favor of one that would have Chichen Itza as a Maya site with strong ties to Central Mexico.