The Yucatan Peninsula in southeastern Mexico is home to thousands of caves,known as cenotes,which were sacred to the Mayans and once served as homes for prehistoric people. ABC News recently featured the caves,thanks to a group of German archaeologists and filmmakers who are working on a project that aims to explore these fascinating natural wonders using modern technology to make a 3-D film.
“The cenotes on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula are a strange and yet unsettlingly beautiful world,” writes ABC.
Cenotes are created when the ceiling of a limestone cave collapses. While some of the caves fill up with water,others are also connected to giant labyrinths that are made up of other caves. Stone Age people used the caves for both living quarters and burial sites,since many of them were dry at that point in history. Later,the Mayans believed the caves were gateways to the underworld,which they named Xibalba,or “Place of Fear.”
Today,divers have already mapped out hundreds of kilometers of the caves and German scientists are busy working on three dimensional computer models of the bones and ceramics that have been found. The film,which is titled “The Caves of the Dead,” will be released in theaters sometime during the summer of 2013.
“The documentation of these caves is fundamental research,” shared team leader Florian Huber,from the University of Kiel’s Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology. “Some 3,000 to 5,000 cenotes are known today,but there is an estimated total of up to 10,000.”
Sea levels began to rise dramatically around 10,000 years ago after the last ice age came to an end,so countless skeletons,fire pits and other Stone Age tools were submerged,along with later relics that were discarded by the Mayans. These items and human remains were preserved similar to those of extinct animals,such as the mastodon.
“Perhaps the cenotes contain the answer to the questions of when the first humans reached the Americas and how the continent was settled,” shared Huber.
Visitors who come to Mexico real estate are also able to explore the cenotes,which provide a fun and exciting excursion for travelers who want to experience the region’s natural wonders firsthand.