A thousand-year-old labyrinth – a criss-crossed underground cave in Mexico

Scientists discovered an 11,000-year-old red soil deposit with few traces. The space behind this narrow passage is an ancient relic, with the building still standing to this day. This discovery is still a mystery.

What did ancient humans do in that dark underground world? In this regard, many scientists still cannot explain. Do they bury the dead? Or looking for fresh water? Inside this 11,000-year-old red earth mine are digging tools and a smoldering bonfire.

In a new study published in August 2020, scientists describe this cave deposit as one of the few archaeological sites that can tell us that ancient humans exploited minerals. where and how this color.

Over the decades, it has been discovered that Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula has a labyrinthine network of underwater caves.

Until 2017, many researchers discovered an underwater cave on the east coast of Quintana Roo, with the remains of ancient people, who entered this cave thousands of years ago. At that time, the sea level was still low and the cave was still relatively dry and navigable. However, after the sea level rose about 8000 years ago, the caves were flooded with water.

Mystical image of shallow Gulf of Mexico waters near the Yucatan Peninsula. (Photo via SOH)

According to Ed Reinhardt, an archaeologist at McMaster University in Canada, the underwater cave is like a time capsule, with pits in the ground and damaged mace and stalactites scattered around. everywhere. But in general, the relics in the cave are still preserved relatively intact, from which it is possible to know that the ancients used to exploit this ocher inside.

Previously, researchers did not understand why the ancients had to go into such complex and dangerous cave systems, but this discovery offers an explanation: The ancients ventured out. Enter these mazes not only to find shelter, or avoid predators, but also to exploit resources.

Canadian diver Fred Devos points out that the cave was clearly excavated, and we believe that prehistoric people extracted tons of ocher from here, and also used torches to illuminate.

A wide range of evidence of ocher mining has been found in the cave, including rudimentary stone tools, ocher pits, piled remains of ore, road signs and piles of ocher. used fire.

At that time, miners used stalagmites as digging tools such as stone mace or pile hammer, and used torches to illuminate the mining process, the smoke marks on the roof of the cave are still clearly visible. . The researchers said that mining activity from prehistoric times has been detected in three underwater cave systems, with a period of about 2000 years.

Red ocher, widely used after pulverizing, it can be used as a pigment for dyeing, used in burial rites, cave murals, and even used to make mosquito repellent and sunscreen.

Under the conditions of that time, people were willing to venture into dark caves to exploit, thereby realizing the importance of ocher in the life of ancient Americans.

The 10,000-year-old prehistoric human mining remains found in an underwater cave in Mexico are the oldest ocher mine in the US, researchers say. These wonderful monuments are preserved to this day, awe-inspiring, and give us the opportunity to learn about the activities of early Americans, and to delve deeper into its uses. cave.