Divers have found an ancient mine in the submarine caves, hiding a message from the past

American scientists have published a new study in the journal Science News, in which they report about a wonderful archaeological find, which according to them represents the remains of an underground ocher mine from 12,000 years ago.

“Underwater caves are like a time-lapse cabin and provide clear evidence of ocher mining thousands of years ago,” said Ed Reinhardt, a scuba diver and micropaleontologist at McMaster University in Canada, according to Science Alert.

During his dives in 2017, Reinhardt explored a number of underwater caves along the coast of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located in the east of the Yucatan Peninsula. In these caves, there were previously skeletal remains of prehistoric people who inhabited them thousands of years ago, when the sea level did not reach so high and the caves were located on dry land.

However, scientists have long known no answer to the question of what brought our prehistoric ancestors to these deep and dangerous labyrinths of corridors. Now they seem to have found a possible explanation.

The caves were ruled by prehistoric miners

“Obviously, human activity has significantly changed the environment of the caves, so we believe that people mined the area from here. They may have used fire pits to illuminate the area,” said diver and archaeologist Fred Devos of the Quintana Roo Undersea Systems Research Center (CINDAQ). ) in Mexico.

Inside three underwater cave systems (La Mina, Camilo Mina and Monkey Dust), the research team found a number of clues to prehistoric mining, including digging tools, navigation signs or prehistoric ocher mining seams. According to scientists, ocher was mined here for about two thousand years – from 12 thousand years ago to times 10,000 years ago. Although perhaps the oldest documented example of ocher mining in America, archaeologists believe that the origins of mining date back even further – about 12,800 years ago. Some findings of skeletal remains lead them to this.

Scientists do not yet know for sure why the ancient miners stopped mining in this locality about ten thousand years ago. According to archeological findings, the caves were still accessible at that time, so it is possible that the miners moved to other deposits in other caves, which are still waiting to be discovered – only the already known cave labyrinths represent about two thousand kilometers of corridors.

The fact that prehistoric people were willing to go deep into dangerous cave bends with considerable risk, where maximum torches and occasionally fires lit up their journey, suggests that ocher pigment must have played an extremely important role in their rituals and customs. The discovery thus speaks not only about the physical abilities of ancient ancestors, but also about their spiritual life.


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