National Geographic : 1913 Mar
Photo from Sylvanus G. Morley EXCAVATING THE CHIEF SANCTUARY OF TEMPLE A: (3) THE SANCTUARY AFTER FINAL REPAIR Note that the wall to the left has been relaid in cement, and the third hieroglyphic, part of which is missing in plate 2, on page 350, has been repaired, the missing part having been found in the debris on the floor of the doorway. position in the building further corrobo rates. Indeed, it is more than likely that this chamber of the tenoned heads was not only the chief sanctuary of this par ticular temple, but of the whole city as well. A SHRINE FOR HUMAN SACRIFICE? It requires but little effort of the imag ination to picture once again the rich and varied scenes which had this temple for their background. White-robed priests, with jaguar skins hanging from their shoulders, ascend the stairway to the sanctuary. Garlanded victims in the shadow of death tremble at the altar. Gorgeously plumed chieftains pace the broad terraces or press around the cov ered dais of the city's ruler, while below, thronging the stone seats along the sides of the court, the multitude, in ignorance and awe as always, awaits the sacrifice. All the pomp and pageantry of the by gone days again fill the court under the magic spell of the romantic surroundings. Curiously enough, the excavation of this sanctuary failed to bring to light a single specimen, not even a potsherd, al though the interior chamber adjoining it on the right yielded a generous return. Among the specimens recovered from this latter room were two very fine flint spear-heads, each over 6 inches in length, and the fragments of a dozen or more pieces of pottery, which show a variety of pleasing shapes and designs. In gen eral, the Quirigua ware is red, or red and yellow, and of a basin-like shape. Many pieces have three legs, the legs being made of balls or inverted cones of clay.