• Tue. Mar 21st, 2023

Will a Pre-Maya Skeleton be Destroyed by the Maya Train?


Sep 20, 2022

A cave-diving archaeologist has made a outstanding discovery in Mexico – a Pre-Maya human skeleton which can date to way back to the tip of the final ice age. It’s an interesting discover, however the human stays, which can be 8,000 years outdated, may very well be destroyed by the Mexican authorities’s plan for a high-speed vacationer prepare…or possibly not?

When archaeologist Octavio del Río and diver Peter Broger noticed the skeleton and its shattered cranium partially coated by sediment, they knew that it will need to have been within the sinkhole cave, known as a cenote, when rising sea ranges flooded it 1000’s of years in the past. Del Río believes that the stays could also be 8,000 years outdated, relationship the person to the end of the last ice age . He mentioned that the skeleton was discovered about 8 meters (26 ft) underwater and about half a kilometer (one third of a mile) into the cave system. Del Río additionally said that they’ll’t make sure “if the physique was deposited there or if that was the place this particular person died.”

The Pre-Maya human stays have been present in a cenote close to a piece of the Tren Maya route. ( Peter Broger/ INAH )

Will the Pre-Maya Skeleton be Destroyed?

The cenote location, which is being stored beneath wraps for worry of looting, has been registered by the Nationwide Institute of Anthropology and Historical past (INAH) of Mexico. The INAH released a statement telling the general public that they’ve identified concerning the website since 2019, nevertheless members of the Quintana Roo state department’s Holocene Archaeology Challenge have but to scientifically analyze it, which means the precise age of the skeleton stays unknown. The institute solely calls it Pre-Maya.

The situation of the cenote holding the Pre-Maya skeleton is “close to” a spot within the jungle the place timber have been minimize so prepare tracks could be laid for the Tren Maya (Maya Train) project. What constitutes as close to, and the query of how a lot of a menace the prepare poses for the skeleton discovered within the cenote, depends upon who’s talking.

Whereas some, akin to Del Río, assert that the archaeological function could find yourself contaminated, closed off, and even collapse because of the constructing challenge, the INAH states that the cenote is situated “400 meters to the proper” of the prepare’s route “the place research present that the prepare is not going to have any impression.” Nonetheless, the INAH affirms that they’ll proceed to watch the state of affairs and the impression of the Tren Maya constructing challenge at this and different places.

It is also price mentioning that the institute emphasizes that Octavio del Río doesn’t at the moment work for or with them.

Nevertheless, the archaeologist Octavio del Río has been exploring the area the place the Pre-Maya skeleton was discovered for some 30 years, and has made some important findings in that point. For instance, in 2002 he was one of many individuals who found and catalogued the stays of an individual often known as The Woman of Naharon, a person who died round 13,000 years in the past.

In del Río’s opinion, the Maya Practice route via the jungle must be deserted in favor of a route alongside the coastal freeway between Cancun and Tulum, which has already been impacted and was the unique plan for the prepare. He said, “What we wish is for them to vary to route at this spot, due to the archaeological finds which were made there, and their significance. They need to take the prepare away from there and put it the place they mentioned they have been going to construct earlier than, on the freeway … an space that has already been affected, devastated.”

However the freeway plan was tossed away in favor of the jungle route for the prepare when resort house owners complained and considerations have been raised related to the associated fee and site visitors interruptions that would happen if the prepare went that route.

Image of the Tren Maya. (Gobierno de México)

Picture of the Tren Maya. ( Gobierno de México )

The Controversial Maya Vacationer Practice Challenge

This isn’t the primary time the Maya Practice route has been linked to an argument. As famous by Sahir Pandey in a earlier article for Historic Origins, the “bold, and extremely controversial” prepare set to traverse the Yucatan Peninsula in south-eastern Mexico has been met with appreciable opposition.

Ever because the plans for the Tren Maya have been first introduced within the winter of 2018, native indigenous peoples, historic conservationists, the Zapatista guerrilla group, and a big variety of different Mexican residents have argued towards it. Their major concern? The peninsula holds various historic Maya websites which could be disturbed and even destroyed by the challenge.

The priority is actual, in some locations prepare tracks run parallel to identified archaeological options, because the INAH itself even indicated in a press release in 2021. (Curiously, that assertion is now not out there on the INAH web site.) In October of 2021, CNN famous that tons of of ceramic finds, in addition to burial websites and lumps and bases with complicated architectural buildings have been recognized utilizing GPS georeferencing, topographic satellite tv for pc pictures, and LiDAR (Mild Detection and Ranging) on the periphery of one of many sections of the prepare challenge that connects the town of Palenque, in Chiapas, to Escarcega in Campeche.

You may learn extra concerning the archaeological discoveries made through the development of the Tren Maya challenge in ‘Mexico’s ‘Tren Maya’ Project Reveals Countless New Sites and Burials.’

Prime Picture: The Pre-Maya human stays have been present in a cenote close to a piece of the Maya Practice route. Supply: Peter Broger/ INAH

By Alicia McDermott

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