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Underwater cave on the Yucatan Peninsula reveals evidence of 13,000 year-old Mayan mines that scientists believe were the first of their kind in North America

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Howsithangin

Underwater cave on the Yucatan Peninsula reveals evidence of 13,000 year-old Mayan mines that scientists believe were the first of their kind in North America

By HARRIET ALEXANDER FOR DAILYMAIL.COM  12:36 EDT, 5 July 2020

 

Archaeologists in Mexico have found some of the oldest mines in the Americas and 13,000-year-old human remains, after exploring an underwater area in the Yucatan peninsula. In a paper published in the journal Science Advances on Friday, the scientists told of finding ocher mines in underwater caves.  

They had been intrigued by the 2007 discovery in the caves of a young woman they named Naia, who died 13,000 years ago, and wanted to know more about the circumstances of her death.  Eight other sets of skeletal remains added to the mystery, with archaeologists wondering how they wound up in the then-dry caves. 

The caves, near the resort of Tulum, were flooded about 8,000 years ago due to rising sea levels.  In Friday's research the scientists suggested they may have found an answer.They detailed the recent discovery of about 900 meters of ocher mines, with the remains of human-set fires, stacked mining debris, simple stone tools, navigational aids and digging sites.

The evidence suggested humans went into the caves around 10,000 to 13,000 years ago, seeking iron-rich red ocher, which early peoples in the Americas prized for decoration and rituals.Such pigments were used in cave paintings, rock art, burials and other structures among early peoples around the globe.

The early miners apparently brought torches or firewood to light their work, and broke off pieces of stalagmites to pound out the ocher.  They left smoke marks on the roof of the caves that are still visible today.

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LINK with cool underwater VIDEO and many PHOTOS

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