Saturday, September 23

Photos: Archaeologists find Mayan canoe in cenote in Mexico

Archaeologists found a pre-Hispanic Mayan canoe in good condition.

Archaeologists found a pre-Hispanic Mayan canoe in good condition.

Photo: SAS-INAH / Courtesy

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) they found a pre-Hispanic Mayan canoe in good condition, located during the works of the Mayan Train, a project under construction in the southeast of Mexico.

During the works of the Mayan Train, important finds have been registered, among them, that of the Mayan canoe, located during the prospecting of Section IV of the work, which goes from Izamal, Yucatán, to Cancun, Quintana Roo.

Within this region a site called San Andrés was identified, a place that houses three bodies of water: a cenote, a well and a rejoyada, so that the experts of the Sub-Directorate of Underwater Archeology (SAS) of the INAH came to your exploration and registration.

The cave where the Mayan canoe was found. (Photo: Yucatán Peninsula Office of SAS-INAH)

“The interesting thing was that while we were taking a decompression break in the cenote, necessary when diving more than 20 meters deep and exceeding a certain time defined in the dive tables, I noticed that five meters below the current water level there was a dark imprint on the stone wall, which was between 60 and 90 centimeters, and indicated the old water level, “said the head of the Yucatan Peninsula Office of the SAS, Helena Barba Meinecke.

At the height of this mark, a cave was located and inside a hardwood log was initially observed., same that after its inspection it denoted the presence of symmetrical cuts made to create a deck without sides, which made it clear that it was a platform-type canoe.

The canoe found by archaeologists. (Photo: Yucatán Peninsula Office of SAS-INAH)

At 6 feet long, 2.6 feet wide, and 1.31 feet high, the small vessel could have been used for the extraction of water from the cenote or for the deposit of offerings during rituals.

“The relevance is that It is the first canoe of this type that is complete and so well preserved in the Mayan area, there are also fragments of these boats and oars in Quintana Roo, Guatemala and Belize ”.

A cave was located and inside a hardwood log was initially observed. (Photo: Yucatán Peninsula Office of SAS-INAH)

Its antiquity, the archaeologist points out, has been initially associated with the San Andrés site, peripheral to Chichén Itzá, whose temporality is linked to the Terminal Classic period (830-950 AD). However, it will be next November when a new canoe survey will be carried out, in order to determine its age by means of dendrochronology, an analysis that will add the support of the Sorbonne University in Paris, as well as to know exactly which tree the wood is from. .

Other pieces were also found. (Photo: Yucatán Peninsula Office of SAS-INAH)

Likewise, a borehole will be made in the sediment that is under the canoe, in order to define the stratigraphy of the environment and possible additional elements; as well as photogrammetry studies to obtain a 3D model of the canoe, which helps in its study and virtual dissemination and that facilitates the creation of replicas that can be integrated into museums in the region, such as the Museum of Underwater Archeology, Fuerte de San José el Alto, in the city of Campeche, an INAH property that has the name of “Good Practices” from the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage.

It should be added that archaeological elements were also located in the other two bodies of water at the San Andrés site. In the well-cenote, 50 meters deep, a human and ceramic skeleton was identified, as well as mural painting in its access area; While on the walls of the rejoyada, through intricate passages, the SAS researchers found mural painting, in the manner of painted hands on the rock ceiling, a complete Cumtun Composite censer, corresponding to the Late Postclassic period (1200 -1500 AD), a rock-stele, a ritual knife, and more than 40 ‘killed’ vessels (which were deliberately broken when placed there) with associated charcoal.

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