A National-Geographic-sponsored project in Quintana Roo, Mexico, has announcedthe discovery of a human skull deep inside the labyrinthine underwater cave of Hoyo Negro (black hole in Spanish). The team doesn’t seem like they’ll be removing the skull – perhaps they’re concerned about its stability – but they are already speculating that it could prove the oldest human remains in the Americas, given that the cave filled over 12,000 years ago, during the earth’s last great climactic shift. An archaeologist shown pictures has said that the skull “looks pre-Maya.” Which is a very strange thing to say, if you think about it.

For more on how archaeologists have used skulls to inscribe race, read David Hurst Thomas’ Skull Wars. for National Geographic’s relationship to explorers breathily rewriting the history of the hemisphere, see Cradle of Gold.

 

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AuthorChristopher Heaney