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A Journey Into Paradise

NOAA Scientists Study Ancient Maritime Maya

13 September, 2012

A group of scientists sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are searching a wide swath of coastline in Mexico’s Riviera Maya,searching for evidence and artifacts from one of the most impressive seafaring cultures of the ancient world. The goal of the expedition is to locate an actual Mayan trading canoe,which was described by the son of Christopher Columbus as being large enough to hold 25 paddlers,cargo and a number of passengers. 

The crew of scientists will remain on the northeastern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula until the end of May,where the ancient port site of Vista Alegre lies on the Caribbean Sea. The lush jungle of this tropical paradise presents many of the same challenges to modern explorers that must have been faced by the ancient Maya,including the possibility of tropical storms and the scarcity of fresh water. 

Two scientists from Mexico and a few students from the U.S. are involved in the expedition. They will collectively submit a number of lengthy technical reports to the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History detailing their findings in an effort to help Mexico to better protect and preserve this vital coastal region,along with any submerged cultural resources.

Today,the Yucatan Peninsula is home to the state of Quintana Roo,where Riviera Maya real estate and tourist corridor is located. At the heart of this popular tourist destination lies the thriving community of Playa del Carmen,which has grown into a diverse city with a strong cultural background. The entire region is also home to a number of fascinating ancient Mayan archaeological sites,including those found in the city of Tulum. Here,impressive ruins overlook the sea and the focus is on preserving the pristine landscape. In addition,the ruins of Chichen Itza,Coba and Ek Balam can be found in the Yucatan,making the region one of the most popular for visitors from around the world.

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