MEXICO CITY – A group of divers has associated two underwater caverns in eastern Mexico to uncover what is believed to be the biggest flooded cave on the planet, a revelation that could help reveal new insight on the ancient Maya civilization.
The Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM), a project committed to the investigation and preservation of the underground waters of the Yucatan peninsula, said the 347-km (216-mile) cave was identified after months of investigating a maze of underwater channels.
Close to the beach resort of Tulum, the group found that the cave system known as Sac Actun, once measured at 263 km, communicated with the 83-km Dos Ojos system, the GAM said in an announcement. Consequently, Sac Actun now absorbs Dos Ojos.
GAM director and underwater archaeologist Guillermo de Anda said the “amazing” find would help to understand the development of the rich culture of the region, which was dominated by the Maya civilization before the Spanish conquest.
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“It allows us to appreciate much more clearly how the rituals, the pilgrimage sites and ultimately the great pre-Hispanic settlements that we know emerged,” he said.
The Yucatan peninsula is studded with stupendous relics of the Maya people, whose urban cities drew upon an extensive network of sinkholes connected to underground waters known as cenotes.
Some cenotes obtained specific religious significance to the Maya, whose descendents keep on inhabiting the region.
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