Here you see the team on Research Flotation Devices (RFDs), searching underwater for wooden posts that formed the outlines of rectangular buildings used in the ancient Maya salt industry.
In this web site, my team of students, collaborators, and I tell the story of the discovery, mapping, and study of the Paynes Creek Salt Works--where the coastal Maya of southern Belize produced massive quantities of salt
for the inland Maya at nearby Classic period cities, between about A.D. 300 and 900. My previous research indicated that sea-level rise had submerged Maya sites in the
coastal area, including 3 salt works in a shallow, salt-water lagoon. While searching for more submerged salt works in the lagoon in 2004, there was an unexpected discovery:
We found wooden posts barely protruding from the sea floor! Wood normally decays in the tropical landscape of Central America, so the finds were surprising. Stone temples and palaces have preserved at Classic Maya sites. Most buildings at ancient Maya sites were likely perishable
structures of wooden poles with palm-thatched roofs, like in traditional Maya villages today.
Underwater Maya Project
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