EXPLORATION OF MAYA CENOTES IN MEXICO (2004)
In the winter of 2004, ProMare teamed with archaeologist Guillermo de Anda at the Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Merida (Mexico) to explore ritual cenotes, or sinkholes, used by the Mayan peoples as sacrificial/religious sites. Several cenotes in proximity to the ancient site Chichen Itza had never been explored and had only recently been opened for study.
An initial reconnaissance trip to Mexico was an opportunity for the ProMare team to probe cenotes Sabak Ha, Maya for “Dark Water,” south of Merída, and Santa Maria, in the Yucatán, providing equipment and expertise to de Anda and his team of students as they developed a plan to explore these sinkholes. With some cenotes extending to depths beyond the range of regular diving (such as with Sabak Ha), ProMare initiated the use of ROVs to view the extent of, as well as the potential obstacles inside, each sinkhole. Each cenote presented unique challenges for the archaeologists, and ProMare assisted in devising specialized plans for each site, suggesting the equipment and techniques that would generate the most accurate picture of what lay beneath the surface.
ProMare continued its support of the ongoing investigation of numerous cenotes throughout the Yucatan/Merida region in 2005 providing technology and funds to uncover critical data about this important aspect of Mayan culture. The partnership between Guillermo de Anda and ProMare was chronicled in Archaeology Magazine’s Interactive Dig Series, and was featured as the cover story for the publication’s May/June 2004 issue.