Prehistory Museum opens in Tulum, Riviera Maya in South East Mexico
Tulum, Mexico, Aug 4 (EFE).- The first hall of the Prehistory Museum, an ambitious project backed by Mayan families from Tulum, a tourist area in southeastern Mexico, is opening its doors after 10 years of work.
The hall is the result of a “unique effort in the scientific world because of the participation of the authentic owners of the land, more than 130 Mayan families,” Prehistory Museum director Eugenio Aceves said in an interview with EFE.
The facility includes a research center at the entrance to the Dos Ojos “cenotes,” or sinkholes, where fossilized remains of prehistoric animals and well-preserved skeletons of the most ancient inhabitants of the Americas have been found.
“We are opening the Ice Age Hall,” Aceves said. “It is an important step after 10 years of research.”
The Ice Age Garden Hall will be open to the public, exhibiting “samples of different species of megafauna found in the caves,” Aceves said.
“We also have a project for a laboratory to conduct research, water monitoring, studies of different sites and space for conservation of material,” Aceves said.
The Prehistory Museum, located on the Maya Riviera less than 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the Tulum archaeological area, has 15 reproductions of pieces found in the cenotes in the Maya community of Jacinto Pat.
At least 600 cenotes have been found in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo and while many of them are open to the public for recreational activities, others are closely guarded by Jacinto Pat’s residents.
A notable piece in the museum is “Las Palmas Woman,” one of the oldest skeletons found in the Americas and classified as the most ancient funeral rite, dating back more than 12,000 years.
Las Palmas Woman was found “in the mid-1990s by American explorer James Coke,” who reported his discovery to the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, but it was a decade later that a team of underwater archaeologists finally began working at the site, Aceves said.