Maya ceramics and mural paintings found in three underwater caves in Mexico
|Underwater archaeologists explored three new Mayan cenote sites, in whose interiors were discovered local ceramics and mural paintings [Credit: Helena Barba. INAH-SAS]|
Cenote San Manuel
The distinct characteristics of the pieces, located in the cenote San Miguel, make them stand out among the other discoveries. Access to this 20 meter (65.61 feet) deep body of water, is through the town well by rappel.
|Orange bowl in the cenote of San Manuel [Credit: Helena Barba. INAH-SAS]|
One of the pots is globe shaped and has a braided handle. It contains an anthropomorphic face and a phytomorphic body. The other pot shows a Mayan face with a diadem detailed in a red and blue pigment.
|Vessel with representation of a face with diadem; in the cenote of San Manuel [Credit: Helena Barba. INAH-SAS]|
The explorations of the Underwater Archaeology Atlas project, carried out during the first half of last November, continued in the semidry cave of Huachabi, Campeche, where the findings were of no less in importance.
This cave – with more than 500 meters (1640.41 feet) in length at its widest part, also has two slopes – is found inside the Miramar archaeological site, still unexplored in the Chenes region. Inside the cave, which one must rappel 20 meters (65.61 feet) to get through, there are nearly 50 spaces with offerings of distinct proportions.
Carbon samples were taken to estimated the approximate date while archaeologist Eunice Uc, investigator of the INAH Center – Yucatan, works on defining the ceramic types to provide an appropriate timeline; the context of the ceramic elements has been preliminarily supposed to date back to the Classic Mayan period (600 – 900 AD).
Also, next to these materials, fragments of mural paintings were detected in different chambers of the cave. The small symmetry between their designs (anthropomorphic as well as representations of vegetables and insects that inhabit the subterranean environment), and the fact that they were elaborated with red clay, taken from inside the cave, could mean these were older than the rest of the elements found.
Aktun aam Cave
The cave was baptized as Aktun aam because of the great quantity of violinist spiders [also known as the “brown recluse”] (Loxosceles laeta) found in its corners. The cave is also located in Campeche and it’s accessed by rappel at a 15º angle. It is possible that initiation ceremonies or purification ceremonies were performed in the cave given the disposition of the objects that were discovered. Also, several strewn materials around the cave suggest the objects were elaborated inside the cave.
|Ceramics in the interior of the venote cave located at Aktum Amm pots [Credit: Helena Barba. INAH-SAS]|
Source: INAH via Art Daily [December 08, 2012]