By Joel Skidmore

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Indicative of the cult of water and rain is a unique structure discovered by the archaeological project.

In the form of a turtle, it measures eight meters in diameter by 1.5 in height. As an offering, it held a turquoise necklace of more than 600 pieces which, extended, measured eight meters in length. It would have to have been wrapped a great many times around the neck of whatever person wore it in ancient times.

The importance of rainwater to Chichen in its heyday is also indicated by a chultun located between the Temple of the Owls and the Temple of the Monkeys. Among the first discoveries within this man-made cistern were the remains of four individuals who had been thrown inside rather than being carefully deposited as in chultun burials elsewhere.

Because of the narrowness of the opening, archaeologist Rocío González de la Mata was the "lucky one" who got to explore the depths of the chultun. At the bottom she found two levels of stucco floor. Underneath the lower one, when it seemed that there was nothing more to be found, was a cache containing sculptures of a turtle and a fish.