Newest Discovery Further Highlights The Rich History And Culture Of The Yucutan Penninsula
A prehistoric skeleton dating back at least eight thousand years has been discovered in an underwater cave near Cancun. The discovery is the latest in a slew of significant finds in the Yucutan Peninsula in recent months.
The skeleton was discovered by Octavio Del Rio, an archaeologist, and another man named Peter Broger, deep in a submerged cave. According to Del Rio, the find was made around thirty feet under the surface and a third of a mile down a cave tunnel. Del Rio specializes in underwater archeology, prehistoric man, and cave digs, according to his Nat Geo bio.
Del Rio says that its location is the most tell-tell sign of the skeleton’s age without having it carbon-dated. Being as far down the cave as that made it impossible for a body to be deposited there without modern diving equipment.
The eight-thousand-year figure comes from the rough period of time when the region was flooded as the last ice age came to an end. These caves would once have been on the surface, but the water rose, flooding them and the skeleton with it. It is possible there are more finds in the cave.
The archeologist has withheld the exact location of the cave system he found the remains, citing concern that they may be looted or disturbed before a further investigation could take place. Many outlets have reported the site as under threat from the Maya Train project, but Del Rio’s only reference was that it’s possible it could be collapsed or be damaged by the construction.
Thankfully, the Mexican Government has already stated that the site is at least four hundred yards from any construction and is not under threat. It also stated that government is aware of the rough area of the site, and has found remains there in the past.
Even if so, the project itself has uncovered some unbelievable finds that are now designated protected sites. Just this week, a major Mayan settlement was discovered. Over three hundred structures were found at the site, some as high as eight meters tall. The train has been rerouted to accommodate the site, and there is hope it may become yet another cultural visit for tourists in the region in years to come.
Whether Del Rio’s prehistoric find could herald a similar future is unclear. While prehistoric finds are massively valuable and stoke interest in many, there is less infrastructure and less likelihood of building any kind of attraction around it other than placing pieces in a museum.
Still, it continues to speak to the vast cultural wealth the region possesses. Cancun and Tulum are far more famous for their beaches and resorts, yet they sit just miles from some of the most interesting historical finds in the Americas – far more than just Chichen Itza.
And, of course, the Maya Train project will eventually connect them all. Tourists from all over the world will be able to independently explore the entire region. Almost every major town, village, and city in the region will have a stop, including many of the biggest cultural sites. Chichen Itza itself will have a station, allowing even the most resort-bound of tourists to venture to a world wonder with ease.
More information will emerge in time from the new prehistoric finds and, hopefully, even more significant sites that can help shed light on prehistoric Mexico. It’s likely these areas will be protected, too, although it is complicated to fortify many of the underground caverns and cenotes where early inhabitants of the region dwelled.
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