Divers in Mexico find the largest underwater archaeological site in the world

Photo Credit: World Atlas

After 10 months of work, researchers involved in the Great Mayan Aquifer Project in Mexico have discovered the world’s longest underwater cave near the beach resort of Tulum. They have, in fact, found a  connection between two of the world’s largest flooded cave systems — Sac Actun and Dos Ojos — located in the Yucatán Peninsula.

What is an aquifer? An aquifer is a layer of porous and permeable rock – it has holes in it through which water can pass, and it can absorb water as well.

What is the Great Mayan Aquifer Project? This is a research project in Mexico. This area is rich in porous and permeable limestone rock, beneath which is a labyrinth of underwater caves. These caves hold some secrets from the Ice Age and from the Mayan Civilisation. The limestone in some areas erodes away and opens up to reveal water and caves under the ground, and scientists and divers have been exploring these waterways to find secrets from so very long ago. These openings in the ground are called cenotes.

Photo Credit: National Geographic

Interesting fact: The Mayans who lived in this area from 1800 B.C. to 250 A.D., regarded these cenotes as portholes into the realm of the Gods. They are definitely portholes into the only freshwater there is in the region.

Why are scientists digging around in this area? The underground caves and waters hold relics from the past, and they help archaeologists to find out more about civilisations in the past.

The Mayans were part of an ancient civilisation that lived in the Yucatan Peninsula of Central America. They built dozens of cities in the jungles of what is now Guatamala, Belize and some parts of Mexico. It is unknown what exactly happened to them, and archaeologists have been trying to figure this out. You can tell a lot about people from the kind of food they ate, the art they enjoyed, the music they listened to, the books they read, the weapons and utensils they had, and the kind of buildings they constructed. Every clue counts and sheds some more light on these incredible people.

This is an incredible find – stay tuned to see what the scientists are able to unearth from these caves!

Inside the cave system. Credit: GAM



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