A BRIEF HISTORY OF HALCYON

Author: Jarrod Jablonski

Discovery: The finding or uncovering of something.

Each time we sink beneath the water here on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and begin to explore a cave, we hold out hope that we will discover something.  Sometimes it is something small, other times it is something much larger.  Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes what we discover is hiding in plain sight. The finding of La Mina in 2017 would classify as one of the latter types of discoveries.  

 

One hard fact about the caves of this area is that they were dry during the last ice age.  We know this because of the presence of speleothems which could have only formed in air filled environment.  We also know this because of human and animal remains that have been found over the years. 

What has always remained a mystery is why people, elephants, giant ground sloths and many other Pleistocene fauna and megafauna would have risked the perilous journey into a dark, disorienting and hazardous environment.

 previous observations make sense.  Humans were the only ones that could have possible done this.

From exploration and cartography, our team then went into ‘science’ mode.  Taking our observations and documentation and presenting them to diving and non-diving scientists who begin to study the site.  We created 3D models of the passages using photogrammetric techniques and produced a 360 hi-res video so that the non-divers could come as close to experiencing the site as we do.  Three years of hard work saw the publishing of a paper in the journal Science Advances in July of this year.

Ocher is a mineral pigment that humans have exploited ever since we evolved on the continent of Africa.  Used for ritual and quotidian purposes, the knowledge of how to extract and then utilize ocher has followed the spread of humanity across the globe.  Paintings that use ocher in France and most recently in Amazonian Colombia help us understand the world of ancient humans and their perception of it.  Other uses would have been as body paint, funerary adornment and perhaps even an iron food supplement. 

Each time we sink beneath the water here on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and begin to explore a cave, we hold out hope that we will discover something.  Sometimes it is something small, other times it is something much larger.  Sometimes it is obvious, sometimes what we discover is hiding in plain sight. The finding of La Mina in 2017 would classify as one of the latter types of discoveries.  

 

One hard fact about the caves of this area is that they were dry during the last ice age.  We know this because of the presence of speleothems which could have only formed in air filled environment.  We also know this because of human and animal remains that have been found over the years. 

For those of us at CINDAQ, our main motivation is the knowledge that such sites exist and more are yet to be discovered!  Every dive is built up with the question,

 previous observations make sense.  Humans were the only ones that could have possible done this.

From exploration and cartography, our team then went into ‘science’ mode.  Taking our observations and documentation and presenting them to diving and non-diving scientists who begin to study the site.  We created 3D models of the passages using photogrammetric techniques and produced a 360 hi-res video so that the non-divers could come as close to experiencing the site as we do.  Three years of hard work saw the publishing of a paper in the journal Science Advances in July of this year.

 previous observations make sense.  Humans were the only ones that could have possible done this.

From exploration and cartography, our team then went into ‘science’ mode.  Taking our observations and documentation and presenting them to diving and non-diving scientists who begin to study the site.  We created 3D models of the passages using photogrammetric techniques and produced a 360 hi-res video so that the non-divers could come as close to experiencing the site as we do.  Three years of hard work saw the publishing of a paper in the journal Science Advances in July of this year.