Prehistoric skeletons found in Mexican cave threatened by planned train

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Cave-diving archaeologists on Mexico’s Caribbean coast have discovered prehistoric human skeletons in a flooded cave system at the end of the last Ice Age, 8,000 years ago.

Archaeologist Octavio del Rio found the shattered skulls of him and fellow diver Peter Blogger in a cave near where the Mexican government plans to build a high-speed tourist train through the jungle. said he saw part of the skeleton covered in sediment.

Given its distance from the cave’s entrance, the bones could not have reached it without modern diving equipment, so it is likely to be more than 8,000 years old, referring to a time when rising sea levels flooded the cave. No, Del Rio said.

“There it is. We don’t know if the body was placed there or where this person died,” Del Rio said. It was located about half a kilometer into the cave system.

Some of the oldest human remains in North America have been found in sinkhole caves known as “cenotes” on the country’s Caribbean coast, and experts believe that some of those caves were built by the Mexican government’s Maya. It says it is threatened by the train tourism project.

Del Rio, who has worked with the National Institute of Anthropology and History on projects in the past, said he notified the institute of the discovery. The institute did not immediately respond to questions about whether it intended to investigate the site.

But Del Rio said Tuesday that the institute’s archaeologist Carmen Rojas said the site is registered and will be investigated by the Holocene Archaeological Project of the institute’s Quintana Roo branch. Told.

He did not specify the location of the cave because of fears of looting or sabotage, but said the cave was near where the government had cleared a strip of jungle to lay the railroad track and had collapsed, polluted or closed. He emphasized that there is a possibility that the

“We need to do a lot more research to interpret the findings correctly,” Del Rio said, adding that determining exactly how old the skeletons are will require “dating, some A photographic study of the species, and some sort of collection,” was noted. .

Del Rio has been exploring the area for 30 years. In 2002, he participated in the discovery and inventory of the remains known as the Naharon Woman. The Naharon woman died at about the same time as Naiah, or possibly earlier. An almost complete skeleton of Nahalon. A young woman who died about 13,000 years ago. It was discovered in a nearby cave system in 2007.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is rushing to complete the Mayan railroad project in the last two years of his term, despite opposition from environmentalists, cave divers and archaeologists. They say he will have little time to study the ancient ruins because he is in a hurry.

Activists say heavy high-speed rail projects will cut through coastal jungles and often run over fragile limestone caves.

Caves along parts of the coast have already been damaged by construction over them, with cement piles being used to support the weight above them.

The 950-mile (1,500-kilometer) Mayan Railroad Line runs a rough loop around the Yucatan Peninsula, linking beach resorts and ruins.

The most controversial section traverses over 68 miles (110 km) of jungle between the resorts of Cancun and Tulum.

Del Rio said the route through the jungle should be abandoned as originally planned and the train should be built over the already affected coastal road between Cancun and Tulum. rice field.

Lopez Obrador abandoned the highway route after hotel owners voiced their objections, raising concerns about costs and traffic disruptions.

“What we want is for them to reroute at this place because of the archaeological finds that were made there and the importance of it,” Del Rio said. The train has to be hauled away from there and placed on the highway where it was previously intended to be built … an area already affected and devastated.” Prehistoric skeletons found in Mexican cave threatened by planned train

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