July 6, 2020

10,000-12,000 Years Old Red Ochre Mining Found in Quintana Roo Underwater Caves

Underwater archaeologists have found ancient ochre mining sites in Quintana Roo in a coastal cave system. The 3 cave system was drowned by rising seas 7,000 years ago. Mining activity was taking place there from 12,000-10,000 years ago. The miners used digging material tools from cave materials, using stalactites as hammer stones and pile drivers.

In 2007, they found the remains of a 12,500 year old teenager they named Naia in one of these caves.

The caves were abandoned before the flooding came.

ScienceMag has the report here;

CBC News adds that the ochre could have been used as insect repellant since it contains arsenic, and red ochre has been used in mortuary rituals and cave painting in Mesoamerica and across the world,

CBC News has the report here with many photos and a video;

Phys.org adds that nine sets of skeletal remains have been found in these caves. The new investigation found evidence of human set fires, stacked mining debris, stone tools and digging sites mining the red ochre. The researchers have finally found the reason why these ancient people risked the dangerous cave system, to find and mine red ochre-to ground the ochre to a paste to color hair, skin, rocks or hides in varying shades of red.


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