The Mayan Pyramid of Kulkucan

Belize And Guatemala Caves Presentation May 9th

On Monday May 9th, The Chattanooga Grotto will host a presentation entitled “Following in the Footsteps of the Maya: Explorations in the Caves of Belize and Guatemala.” Experienced caver Ron Miller will highlight several trips he went on to visit South American caves, specifically Petroglyph Cave of Belize and the Chiquibul Cave System which connects Belize and Guatemala, both which show evidence of use by the Maya.

Petroglyph Cave has one of the most spectacular entrances known in Belize. It is located at the bottom of a 150-m-wide sinkhole with vertical walls 10-30 m high. Only one place affords “easy” access, and even this requires artificial aid such as ropes or a log ladder. The entrance itself is approximately 70 m wide by 30 m high, opening into a room about 220 m long. The floor drops precipitously to a permanently flowing stream 40 m below, accessible by only one precarious route,which shows signs of use by the ancient Maya. The ceiling of this immense void is 40-60 m above the stream, and the entire area is illuminated by daylight. The trail to the stream passes beside a huge rock (ca. 15 m long by 10 m wide by 10 m high) that fell from the ceiling before the Maya used the cave. At the base of this rock was a series of 5-6 wide steps which have been destroyed by looters. On a breakdown/talus slope above the steps are eight terraces with low retaining walls of dry laidstones. From any viewpoint, even the most jaded modern visitor is impressed by the cathedral aspects of this vast chamber. – Cave Archaeology of Belize

The Chiquibul Cave System is located in a remote and little known area of west-central Belize on the southern Vaca Plateau, with its downstream end extending into Guatemala. Primarily comprised of four hydrologically-linked caves, the system formed by the sinking of the Chiquibul River into its present and former subterranean conduits. Its resurgence is in Guatemala. Over 55 km of passages in the system have been surveyed, including the largest known passages and cave room in the Western Hemisphere. – Biology of the Chiquibul Cave System, Belize and Guatemala

The meeting will start 7 pm at the Chattanooga Nature Center.

Presentation On Caves In Belize And Guatemala Is May 9 [The Chattanoogan]

Photo by Rob Shenk

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