Belize’s Midnight Terror Cave revealed around 10000 human bones, bone fragments and teeth on the cave floor during excavations conducted between 2008-2010. Many of the human remains came from 4- to 10-year-olds but over 9.5 thousand from not older than 14 years. Because these bones are so fragmented, it’s difficult to estimate precisely how many individuals lay in the cave.
Michael Prout of California State University in Los Angeles and colleagues suspect these children were sacrificed to a rain, water and lightning god that the ancient Maya called Chaac. At least 114 bodies were dropped in the deepest, darkest part of the cave, near an underground stream. Youngsters up to age 14 accounted for a minimum of 60 of those bodies. Ancient Maya considered inner cave areas with water sources to be sacred spaces, suggesting bodies were placed there intentionally as offerings to Chaac.