Voyage to the Maya Underworld

Last Updated: February 7, 2013 by
Categories: Mexico

Sinkholes | Riviera MayaMaya underworld -- Guillermo de Anda studies the ancient remains of people and animals in the countless caves winding beneath the Yucatan. Join us this Friday as he brings us along via a live video Hangout with Nat Geo on Google+.

While many archaeologists are quick to point out that doing real archaeology is a far cry from living an Indiana Jones movie, Guillermo can’t get away with such an academic toning-down of his adventures.

Most archaeology starts at the Earth’ surface and from there, people dig till they find something. For Guillermo and his colleagues, it’s a little more elaborate.

They start in the forests of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Hacking through vegetation, or sometimes simply pulling over to the side of the road, they then walk, jump, climb, or rapel into the sometimes vast, sometimes quite restrictive caverns below.

Step one complete. Next they look around for artifacts, wall art, structures, or other signs of ancient habitation by people or animals. Take notes. Then put on your mask and dive. These aren’t just caves, they’re centotes, filled with water.

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