Underwater Archaeological Research in ponds used by the Maya
A team of divers has begun to map some of the 25 freshwater lakes White Face in Belize, which was of major importance to the ancient Maya. Divers have found fossilized remains of animals, pottery shards, and explored the largest lagoon, a huge underwater cave.
This project, led by anthropologist Lisa Lucero of the University of Illinois, is the first of what Lucero expected to be a series of dives in the lakes of the southern lowlands of the Maya in central Belize. Divers will assess the feasibility of carrying out an archaeological dig at the bottom of the ponds, some of which are over 60 meters deep.
The Maya believed that the openings in the land, including caves and water-filled sinkholes called cenotes were portals to the underworld, and often left offerings there. Previously, they had been found Maya ceremonial objects in ponds and lakes in Mexico, but not in Belize until now.
Two of the eight gaps have been inspected equipment in the vicinity of Mayan structures.
Gaps in the traces of more substantial settlements and evident, also proved to be the most profound known archaeologists. So far, divers have explored eight of the 25 known gaps White Face.
The use of these gaps at the end of the Late Classic period (approximately 800 to 900 AD) coincides with a persistent drought deforested various parts of Central America.
The need for fresh water could have led the Maya to the gaps. The only containers found in the structures built near the lakes were to hold water.
Patricia Beddows, a diver from diving team, as well as hydrological and geochemical engineer from Northwestern University, has found that water chemistry in each of the gaps was different. It has also found that the water in the Laguna 1, which has the huge cave and a Mayan structure on the shore, water containing a large amount of soluble minerals. People who drink this water over a long period of time has to face a serious risk of developing kidney stones.