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Old 12-17-2003, 03:57 AM   #7
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Join Date: May 2002
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Not all archaeology is "Deep Sea." There is quite a bit that has to do with what was once above the sea, but is now submerged. This is the type of underwater archaeology that fascinates me the most.

Here's a link to a photograph and a story that accomanies, which depicts an archaeologist sketching an artifact (in this case, a human skull) while underwater in a particular type of cave known as a cenote.

These caves are thought to have been formed as result of the K-T astroid event 65 million years ago (there's considerable evidence to support it) and were both filled with water and partially exposed approximately 10k years ago.

Mayans were known to partake in human sacrifice, and use the cenotes as a means of offering sacrifices to the gods. In addition, some of the cenotes were also used as funeraires as well as sacrifices (which was determined by examining the manner in which the bodies were deposited).

One of the most fascinating aspects of this type of underwate archaeology is looking at the way past civilizations lived in relatively undisturbed environments. The melting of the glaciers caused the sea levels to rise, submerging low-lying areas near the seas. Much of the archaeological record has been destroyed by years of exposure to sea water, but there is still plenty to be found.

Check out the October 2003 issue of National Geographic for the full story and some better pictures of Arturo Gonzalez (the archaeologist) at work in the cenotes along with his team. Note the grid frames used in recording the precise location and position of each artifact prior to its excavation.

Real archaeology is not snatch and grab then take it to the museum like in Indiana Jones.

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