Monday, April 13, 2009

ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal) Cave

For this excursion, I was unsure what I was getting myself into. All I knew was that going through the cave the water level could be from ankle high to the point of swimming. It also was known to have tight squeezes and some little rock climbing. Yet, included a lot of history.

In order to get through the cave entrance we had a hour twenty minute drive, and a forty minute hike. Once at the cave entrance we geared up with our hard hat helmet and a head lamp. The first part of the cave entrance we had to swim through. The water was cold, but clear.

(Dr. Kubasko, John, Kristen, Allison, Will and myself the entrance of the ATM cave)

We began through the cave walking through a lot of water. It was really neat to see as we saw bats, fish, scorpion spiders (not very pretty), and other interesting looking insects. We get to the part of having to climb up some rocks to the fifth level of the cave. This is where the history began. The guide was telling about the pottery remains as well as the skeletal remains. He was explaining to group about how some of the Mayan people would put boards to their foreheads to try and make them more flat. The reason for this was people of status within the community. The people with more flat foreheads were the one that had a higher status. The majority of the bone remains were calcified over, but we were still able to make out some of the bones. The pottery within the cave was unbelivable. It was interesting to see the time the Manyans took to add detail to all of the pots, and the sizes of some of the pots were significally big.

The guide then led us to climb a ladder to the seventh level of the cave. There we saw the remains of a female body who died around the age of 40. Archaelogist do not feel that she was sacrificed at all, but rather died to a lack of iron. This is the last remain in the area of a Mayan that is considered to be in 'one-piece.' It was breathtaking to see this. This excursion was well worth it, even though at times I was a little apprehensive about it.

(This is a picture of the female remains on the 7th level of the ATM cave.)


  1. Grandpa & GrandmaApril 15, 2009 at 7:07 PM

    Experience first hand. What an education. Teachers are always learning. Can't wait to hear more. Great job...Grandma

  2. You are having the experience of a lifetime,and I am so proud of you! Enjoy your last week. love you mom