Explorers Find Mayan Treasures in World’s Largest Underwater Cave

Underwater archaeologist studying ancient artifact

The planet’s largest underwater cave stretches 216 below sea level in Mexico and is packed with a plethora submerged caverns. Even though it was discovered a month ago, archaeologists have already discovered treasures from the ancient Mayan civilization and several human and animal remains.

Archeologist Guillermo de Anda who leads the team that made the discoveries estimates that the natural wonder includes nearly 250 naturally occurring sinkholes and almost 200 sites of archeological importance. Of those, 140 sites contain Mayan artefacts.

This undoubtedly makes it the most important submerged archaeological site in the world,

the researcher said.

Divers have stumbled upon human remains which may be 9,000 years old. Some of the skeletons had traces of burns. The discovery suggests that the eastern Mexican region was populated thousands of years earlier than previously suggested.

Ancient Maya Trade Route Probably Discovered

Researchers believe that an ancient Maya route crossed the region. On this route, merchants had pilgrimage sites where they prayed and made other exchanges with their gods.

De Anda doesn’t think anybody actually lived in the cave, but they likely accessed it in search of fresh water when the weather conditions were too dry. Nevertheless, those people’s culture and the network of caves called Sac Actun were deeply linked.

Underwater archaeologists found numerous pieces of pottery, ceramics, and wall etchings from the Mayan period. They also discovered large Mayan artifacts like a shrine dedicated to a god of trade and a stair-like structure in a separate sinkhole.

The many human remains found in the cave suggest that not everyone was able to access a stair to get out of the cave. So, many traders and animals never make it back alive.

Divers also found remains of ancient creatures like bears, giant sloths, and a now-extinct elephant-like creature known as a gomphothere. The research team believes that there are other unexplored caves connected to Sac Actun.
Image Source: Wikimedia

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