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    Deep in since-flooded caves, researchers find evidence of America's first miners

    Sam Meacham has spent years studying the miles of caves beneath Mexico’s Yucatán region.


    Although they are now flooded, most of the caves in Quintana Roo state were dry and accessible until about 8,000 years ago, when sea levels rose at the end of the last Ice Age. It was known that the ancestors of modern Native Americans ventured into the pitch-dark caves, which extend for hundreds of miles beneath the limestone landscape. Human bones have been found deep within the caves, hundreds of yards from the entrances, and archaeologists have proposed that people went there in search of fresh water or to perform rituals.


    Meacham and his CINDAQ dive team had seen “weird” things in other parts of the Sagitario cave, such as signs of digging and piles of rocks, that they could not explain. Then, in 2017, Meachem was mapping a section of the cave known as La Mina, beyond a narrow part of their passage from the surface, when he encountered something that has changed how archaeologists think about the earliest peoples of the Americas.


    "When we slipped through the narrow passageway to the other side … it all kind of finally fell into place for us,” Meacham said.


    Meacham found signs people mined there more than 10,000 years ago for a valuable pigment — red ochre — known to be used in rituals, according to research publish

    MORE Deep in since-flooded caves, researchers find evidence of America'''s first miners

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    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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