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Old 12-17-2003, 06:58 PM   #8
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Join Date: Nov 2003
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Cenotes et al

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.
Right. There are a lot of fossils in the North Sea, which was dry land some 10 kya Also Beringia, between Siberia and Alaska was above sealevel.,00.html

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.
Neat technology. I think Jacques Collina Girard was talking about a waterproof notepad in one of his papers.

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).
Yes, those cenotes, or sinkholes are mentioned in the International Handbook of Undersea Archaeology, c. 2002 Chapter 17, Mexico p. 269-272 FYI

"Sacred Well of Chichen-Itza
Cenotes are natural, water-filled limestone sinkholes existing mainly in the Mayan zone of southeastern Mexico. In the past, cenotes were used as sources of fresh water and as sacred sites whre offerings to the gods were thrown or deposited. The Cenote of Chichen Itza, also called the Sacred Well, is considered the most important in the area. It is about 400 m north of the main plaza of Chichen-Itza, and ancient Mayan religious center in the northwestern part of the peninsula of Yucatan. The well is connected to the plaza by a saché, or white path, a typical Mayan road.
The first time someone tried to recover objects at the bottom of the 14-m deep cenote was in 1882. French antiquarian Desiré Charnay used a dredge, but he was not successful. Then in 1894, Edward Herbert Thompson, the first United States consul in Yucatan, bought the Hacienda of Chichen Itza, which included Mayan ruins and the cenote, for a small amount of money. Like Charnay, he used a dredge to try to retrieve artifacts. Between 1904 and 1907, he recovered many significant archaeological artifacts. From 1910 to 1911, he hired U.S. helmet divers, but low visibility prevented their success, so Thompson went back to the dredge system. Most of the recovered pieces were taken to the Peabody Museum at Harvard University and to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
Material recovered by Thompson included jade figurines, stone sculptures, gold and copper disks, copal ( a pre-Hispanic resin used as incense), human bones, fragments of textile, and assorted artifacts made of metal, obsidian, wood, bone, stone, gold, and rubber.
It was not until 1960-61 that the first official recovery work took place, with the participation of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) through archaeologist Roman Pina Chan, Club de Exploraciones y Deportes Acuaticos de México (CEDAM), National Geographical Society, and Norman Scott, a professional diver. The group used an airlift and worked for several months, until INAH cancelled the work: Many objects broke as they passed through the airlift, and proper stratigraphical data was not being obtained. The last field season took place 1967-1968. INAH, CEDAM, and Expeditions Unlimited, Inc., worked almost three months, lowering the water level 4 m and using chemicals to increase visibility. Again divers used an airlift.
Among the pieces recovered were five sculpted stone jaguars, snake-shaped stones, gold and copper bells, jade beads, turquoise fragments, wooden benches and buckets, about 100 ceramic vases and bowls of different sizes and eras, small objects made of shell and obsidian, and animal and human bones. Many of these reside at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.
X-Coton, X-Lacah, and Agua Azul Cenotes
Between 1952 and 1968, American specialists worked in these three cenotes in southeastern Mexico, two in Yucatan and one in Chiapas, andn recovered many artifacts and shards. It was confirmed that these sacred sites were where the Mayas made offerings to Chaac, their god of rain. In 1970, a year after American reseracher Stephan F. de Borhegyi died, Mexican archaeologist Roberto Gallegos continued recoveries in Agua Azul Cenote, in Chinkultic. The X-Coton project included mapping and stratigraphical studies. The other two works consisted only of the recovery of objects.

The Nevado of Toluca
The Nevado of Toluca, is the fourth highest mountain in Mexico. At its peak are two lagoons which have been popular sites for high-altitude sport divers. The Sun Lagoon is 400 x 200 m, and the Moon Lagoon is 200 x 75 m, wiht a depth of 14 m; both are 4200 m above sea level. The first dives were made in 1954-1955.
The most recovered objects from these lagoons were ceramic vases, spheres and cones made o fcopal (incense) and pieces of wood sculpted in the shape of rays. Copal and rays were used for ceremonial purposes."

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