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General objective:

To establish spatial and temporal relations between the Yucatan Peninsula settlement
anthropological line and the karstic caves formation geological line, starting with the geochemical
analysis of human skulls discovered at the bottom of a submerged cave and carbonate concretions
present on these skulls surface, considering these as dated elements or as paleoclimatic indicators.

Particular objectives

1. Determine the mineralogical composition of the concretions that cover a large part of the
skulls surface, in order to verify if their presence is product of the same karst process
(runoff) that forms the speleothems distinctive of this type of caves.
2. Date the concretions of the skulls using isotopic techniques (U-Th) to make a temporary
location of their formation and to give us an idea about the lapse that could exist between
the individuals death and the cave flood. This is important because if the karst runoff was
responsible for the formation of concretion, it had to stop forming at the time when the
cave flood occurred.
3. Verify the carbonate material of the concretions to see if it is in suitable conditions to be
used as paleoenvironmental indicator by means also, of its isotopic analysis.
4. Elaborate an analysis by Sr isotopes to the teeth of the skulls in order to establish possible
birthplaces of the individuals and infer possible migration routes and settlement of the
Yucatan peninsula.

This project will begin with the transfer of the team members to the field work area in Tulum,
Quintana Roo, coming from various places such as Mexico City, Mérida and Felipe Carrillo Puerto.
The team will consist of two underwater archaeologists, a biologist, a diving instructor, a
photographer and three geologists.

Approximately five members of this team will perform two or three underwater dives using diving
equipment at Jats'uts Tam Ha cenote in order to take the necessary samples from the skulls and
their concretions. It is important to point out that all the work done both in surface and
underwater will be documented through audiovisual record. We estimate the field season to last
about a week. Once the field samples are obtained, the services of isotopic laboratories of the
UNAM in Mexico City and Querétaro will be contracted to do the dating and paleoenvironment
analysis of the samples above mentioned.

Later, and with the isotopic analysis results of the samples in our hands, the interpretation phase
will begin, where we the archaeologists, biologist and geologists of the project will directly
participate, also supporting us in works previously carried out by this Same research team months
ago as the results of the analysis of water composition of these systems of submerged caves,
elaborated by the Biol. Arturo Bayona, or the certificate of registration with the INAH of the
archaeological site of the concreted skulls elaborated by the archaeologists Guillermo de Anda and
Dante García, all members of our work team.