The remains of mining ochre old, about 12 000 years ago, is the oldest in the american continent, have been discovered in the underwater caves of the Yucatan peninsula, in the south-east of Mexico, said Friday officials of the discovery.
“It is of the most ancient mines of ochre known of the Americas,” said in a press release the research centre of the aquifer system, Quintana Roo (CINDAQ), a private organisation which has explored the site and made the discovery.
Access to these caves, which were once a dry space, is located about 10 km inland from the famous beaches of the mexican Caribbean, that attract millions of tourists from around the world.
The divers of the CINDAQ have had to swim several miles through caves and passages that reach sometimes 70 centimetres wide. They found that the underground scenery had been modified in an artificial manner, indicating that other people inhabited these spaces. Later, this presence has been established there are more than 10 000 years.
The explorers took samples, took more than 20,000 pictures and hours of video recording. They were handed to the national Institute of anthropology and history, as well as other international experts from different disciplines, who are working to an assessment of the importance of the site.
“This has revealed for the first time to the mining sites remarkably well preserved, which include beds of extraction, pits, tools, excavation and debris,” added the CINDAQ.
The initial findings indicate that the red ochre was a pigment mineral very appreciated by the early inhabitants of the western hemisphere, which would be encouraged to explore these dangerous places to get it.
The underground passages developed were once dry. But they have been flooded there are about 8000 years, creating ideal conditions for preserving the traces of human activity old, according to the same source.
The evidence of the mining activity suggest that it extended over a period of 2000 years and occurred between 12 000 and 10 000 years.
“It was 8,000 years before the establishment of the mayan culture for which the region is well known,” remarked the CINDAQ.