An international team of archaeologists explored the underwater caves on the coast of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Several thousand years ago the sea level here was much lower in the cave was accessible from the land, what did the ancient miners of minerals. Archaeologists have found numerous traces of their activities and found that they produce the valuable natural colorant – ocher.

After studying the surviving stone tools, hearths and tools for primary processing of ochre, the researchers came to the conclusion that the mine was operated for a very long time, about 2000 years supplying ocher local tribes. This occurred between 12 000 and 10 000 years ago, and some experts believe that the mine was opened 800 years before. But it ended suddenly, although mine at the time was not yet flooded.

Probably the ancient miners reassessed their work. The topography of the caves is clearly seen as a natural cavity in the earth to grow and expand as the extraction of ochre. The expense of the extracted material was thousands of tons, despite the fact that we are talking about a purely manual labour. But as the depletion of deposits, the miners had to climb down which was very dangerous – they didn’t have the technology of strengthening of old mines. Therefore, probably, it was decided to develop another field.

Flooding of the caves played into the hands of archaeologists, to conserve mine, which is not allowed to use them Mayans who inhabited these lands at a later date. In this region there is an extensive system of caves and cenotes, karst failures, but so far only explored 2000 km of these dungeons. Which of them was chosen by the Maya and which were exploited by the more ancient peoples and for what purposes remains to be seen.

Source — Washington Post