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#382054 - 06/30/10 02:58 PM Diver "Vanishes" in Portal to Maya Underworld
Marty Offline


June 30, 2010—Diving into natural pools in Belize in the quest for offerings from the ancient Maya, explorers found what's believed to be the country's first recorded fossilized remains. In the course of the expedition, one diver "disappeared" into the pool's floor. - This is our Beautiful & Amazing Belize, Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret!

http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/news/history-archaeology-news/belize-maya-pools-vin.html
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#382065 - 06/30/10 04:28 PM Re: Diver "Vanishes" in Portal to Maya Underworld [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
Marty is an excellent cave diver and cinematographer.
Belize has tons of unexplored caves and caverns underwater.
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#382071 - 06/30/10 04:51 PM Re: Diver "Vanishes" in Portal to Maya Underworld [Re: elbert]
Marty Offline
longer version coming later today...

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#382201 - 07/01/10 02:36 PM Re: Diver "Vanishes" in Portal to Maya Underworld [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Archaeological explorers funded by National Geographic, report that they have found what's believed to be Belize's first recorded fossilized remains. They were found deep within cenotes at the little known Mayan site of Cara Blanca in the Orange Walk district.

It is a project to explore what are called the sacred pools of the ancient Maya - basically an underwater spring located at the bottom of the Cenotes - which are underwater caves.

Here's the link to this video report from National Geographic:..

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/06/100630-belize-maya-pools-vin-video/

There are 23 cenotes at the Cara Blanca site - the deepest is estimated at 160 feet.

The Cara Blanca Site, is near to the more well known Mayan center called Yalbac.....

Channel 7

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#382299 - 07/02/10 03:29 PM Re: Diver "Vanishes" in Portal to Maya Underworld [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline
Here is the two part longer version... from Marty:

this version really shows you all of the cool discoveries we made- there is some pretty awesome stuff for Belize in there-- Marty

Diving The Sacred Pools Of Cara Blanca, Belize, part 1 of 2

Part 2


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#384361 - 07/22/10 03:51 PM Re: Diver "Vanishes" in Portal to Maya Underworld [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Extreme archaeology: Divers plumb the mysteries of sacred Maya pools

Videographer Marty O'Farrell captures divers taking a core sample from bottom of pool 6.
Rights-protected photo by members of the 2010 Village of Peace Archaeology project (VOPA)

Videographer Marty O'Farrell captures divers taking a core sample from the bottom of pool 6.

« Click photo to enlarge


CHAMPAIGN, lll. — Steering clear of crocodiles and navigating around massive submerged trees, a team of divers began mapping some of the 25 freshwater pools of Cara Blanca, Belize, which were important to the ancient Maya. In three weeks this May, the divers found fossilized animal remains, bits of pottery and – in the largest pool explored – an enormous underwater cave.

Lisa Lucero
University of Illinois anthropology professor Lisa Lucero, who led the expedition, surveys Pool 1, the deepest of the pools her team explored. | Rights-protected photo by VOPA

(Click here to see a video and slide show of the expedition.)

This project, led by University of Illinois anthropology professor Lisa Lucero and funded by the National Geographic Society and an Arnold O. Beckman Award, was the first of what Lucero hopes will be a series of dives into the pools of the southern Maya lowlands in central Belize. The divers will return this summer to assess whether archaeological excavation is even possible at the bottom of the pools, some of which are more than 60 meters deep.

“We don’t know if it’s going to be feasible to conduct archaeology 200 feet below the surface,” Lucero said. “But they are going to try.”

The Maya believed that openings in the earth, including caves and water-filled sinkholes, called cenotes (sen-OH-tays), were portals to the underworld, and often left offerings there. Ceremonial artifacts of the Maya have been found in pools and lakes in Mexico, but not yet in Belize.

Maya structures have been found near two of the eight pools the team surveyed.

“The pools with the most substantial and most obvious settlement at the edge also turn out to be the deepest that we know,” Lucero said. The divers so far have explored eight of the 25 known pools of Cara Blanca.

The use of these pools at the end of the Late Classic period (roughly A.D. 800-900) corresponds to an enduring drought that deforested parts of Central America and – some believe – ultimately drove the Maya from the area.

The need for fresh water could have drawn the Maya to the pools, Lucero said. No vessels other than water jars were found in the structures built near the pools.

“They could have been making offerings to the rain god and other supernatural forces to bring an end to the drought,” she said.

Patricia Beddows, one of the divers and a hydrologist and geochemist at Northwestern University, found that the chemistry of the water in each of the pools was distinct. She also found that the water in Pool 1, the pool with the huge cave and a Maya structure at its edge, held the freshest water of the pools surveyed. But the water contained a lot of soluble minerals, Lucero said, making it problematic for anyone who used it as their primary water supply. Those who drank the water over an extended period would have been at risk of developing kidney stones, she said.

The divers extracted core samples of the sediment at the bottoms of two of the pools. An analysis of the soil, debris and pollen in the cores will offer insight into the natural history of the cenotes and the surrounding region.

Lucero recruited expert cave exploration divers for the expedition. She provided food, lodging and other basics, but the divers donated their time and expertise. The dive team included Robbie Schmittner, Kim Davidsson (an independent cave dive instructor), Bil Phillips, and videographer Marty O’Farrell, who produced the video.

The research team also included archaeologist Andrew Kinkella, of Moorpark College. In Pool 1, Kinkella and diver Edward Mallon recovered ceramic jar shards in the wall of the pool just below the Maya structure.

Three more divers, Steve Bogaerts, James “Chip” Petersen and still photographer Tony Rath will join the project this summer.

Lucero has studied Maya settlements and sacred sites in Belize for more than 20 years, and works under the auspices of the Institute of Archaeology, which is part of the National Institute of Culture and History, Government of Belize.

http://www.news.illinois.edu/news/10/0721dive.html


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