San Andrés, Yucatan — Archaeologists studying Maya Train routes have located a pre-Hispanic canoe at the bottom of a cenote. The canoe, at 1.60 m long, 80 cm wide and 40 cm high, was found completely submerge along a section of route 4 of the Maya Train.
The canoe, which the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) says is in good condition, was located during the prospecting of Section IV of the work, which goes from Izamal, Yucatán, to Cancún, Quintana Roo.
It has been associated with the Terminal Classic period (830-950 AD). The canoe was found in an area that houses three bodies of water, a cenote, a well and a rejoyada. Dive experts were called in for further exploration.
“The interesting thing,” said the head of the Yucatan Peninsula Office of the SAS, Helena Barba Meinecke, “was that while we were taking a break for decompression in the cenote (…) I noticed that five meters below the current water level there was a dark imprint on the stone wall, which was between 60 to 90 centimeters and indicated the old water level.”
At the height of this mark, a cave was located and inside a hardwood trunk was initially observed, which after inspection, indicated the presence of symmetrical cuts made to create a roof without edges, which made it clear that it was a platform-type canoe.
It is believed that the small boat could have been used for the extraction of water from the cenote or for the deposit of offerings during rituals.
“The relevance lies in the fact that it is the first canoe of this type that is complete and so well preserved in the Mayan area, and there are also fragments of these boats and oars in Quintana Roo, Guatemala and Belize,” she said.
Its antiquity, the archaeologist points out it has been initially associated with the San Andrés site, peripheral to Chichén Itzá, who has linked to the Terminal Classic period (830-950 AD).
However, it will be in November when a new canoe survey will be carried out in order to determine its age by means of dendrochronology, the study and dating of wood, with support of the Sorbonne University in Paris.
The INAH conducts, in accompaniment to the work projects of the Maya Train, prospecting in which important findings have been registered.