Cave in Mexico: 1000 year old Mayan canoe discovered

Status: 10/30/2021 3:55 p.m.

So far, scientists have only been able to guess what the Maya boats once looked like based on fragments. Archaeologists have now discovered a canoe from the Mayan period in an underwater cave in Mexico, which is astonishingly well preserved.

A 1000 year old canoe from the Maya period has been discovered in Mexico. Archaeologists found the boat in southern Mexico in an underwater cave, a so-called cenote, according to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Cenotes are widespread in the Yucatán Peninsula and were revered as sacred sites by the Maya. “The small boat could have been used to take water from the cenote or to deposit ritual offerings,” the institute said. It is about 1.60 meters long and 80 centimeters wide.

In this cenote, as the underwater caves are called in Mexico, the scientists found the canoe from the Mayan period.


According to the first estimates of the scientists, the canoe probably came from the time between 830 and 950 AD. The exact age is now to be determined by means of an analysis of the wood with the support of the University of Paris. In addition, a three-dimensional model is to be commissioned to facilitate further studies and to enable replicas.

It is the first finding of such a well-preserved canoe of its kind in the Maya area. So far, only fragments of similar boats have been seized in Guatemala and Belize.

Controversial project by President Obrador

The boat was discovered in the course of construction work on the “Maya Railway”, a controversial tourism project by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. This is intended to connect the vacation spots on the Mexican coast with archaeological sites and thus alleviate poverty in the poorer southern states of the country.

However, critics argue that this would damage the regions’ sensitive ecosystems.

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