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Diving into the Ice Age

1 December 2012

Mexico's Yucatan peninsular has many caves and cenotes, an estimated 10,000 of them. People lived in the caves during the Ice Age, and their remains, and that of Ice Age animals, can be found – now in a watery grave. The cenotes are basically open caves, where the ceilings of the limestone have collapsed. In more recent times they were used by the Maya, but there was a difference. In the Ice Age the floors of the caves and cenotes were dry – now they are under water. Some of them are filled with rain water, the result of floods from tropical storms. Others are simply below the water table – or both. Sea levels around Yucatan and in the Caribbean as a whole are much higher now than they were 20,000 years ago. See www.spiegel.de/international/german-archaeologists-explore-the-mysteriou… … divers are mapping the caves and cenotes and German scientists are creating a 3D computer model of bones, cermaics, and the general layout. It is hoped that they will be able to investigate what is there at their leasure – in front of their computers instead of for a few brief moments in their diving suits. In 2013 a film will be released on the project.

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