Giant sloth fossils, Mayan Civilization treasures, and 9,000-year-old human remains are just some of the things that archaeologists have unearthed in a recently discovered underwater cave in Mexico.
It was just last month when excavators working under the Great Maya Aquifer Project (GAM) made an announcement that they discovered the world’s largest underwater cave system in Yucatán. The discovery made them realized that two massive caves in the Mexican peninsula are actually linked together.
Today, after exploring the vast cave, the same team revealed many great finds and most of them are interesting relics from the Mayan Civilization. The cave, known as Sac Actun cave system, has been recorded as the largest in the world and so far, and researchers were able to uncover 198 underwater archeological sites.
“This immense cave represents the most important submerged archaeological site in the world,” Guillermo de Anda, underwater archaeologist and researcher at Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute (INAH), told National Geographic in January.
He added, “It has more than a hundred archaeological contexts, among which is evidence of the first settlers of America, as well as the extinct fauna and, of course, of the Maya culture.”
De Anda who is also the director of Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM), a project that focuses on the study and preservation of the subterranean waters of the Yucatan peninsula, said that the Sac Actun measured 215-miles-long and it was probably the main source of water during the severe drought in the prehistoric times.
Moreover, the underwater research team deduced that by the end of Ice Age, the water level there might have risen to over 300 feet and it flooded the cave system. The flooding preserved many of the extinct megafauna fossils, human relics, and other Mayan Civilization treasures.
Archaeologists disclosed that out of the 198 sites of archaeological interest, they determined that around 138 of them have links to the Mayan civilization.
According to Daily Mail, some of the greatest finds that were presented to the public on Feb. 19 include 9,000-year-old human bones and megafauna fossils of extinct Ice Age mammoths, bears, and giant sloths. Based on the available data, the position of the bones suggests that the ancient man died due to some kind of catastrophic event.
In any case, the animals were from the Pleistocene period and they are giants in size compared to their modern counterparts.
Finally, along with the bones, ceramic items were also found at a site that archaeologists believed to be a ceremonial shrine of the Mayans. The religious altars were said to be dedicated to the god of Mayan trade called Ek-Tuahu. Wall etchings were spotted in the cave as well and all of these archaeological artifacts date back to 12,000 years.