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Expedition Into Belize Blue Hole Could Unlock Ancient Maya Secrets

Famed British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson will be at the helm of the first-ever submarine expedition to explore and map the contours of the Belize Blue Hole. A large, sapphire body of water located a few miles offshore from the Belizean mainland, the Belize Blue Hole is a world-famous dive site. The Belize Blue Hole was once a large cave system on dry land that became flooded by rising waters some 100,000 years ago.

The upcoming submarine expedition will use military-grade sonar and powerful lights to create a detailed map of the underwater terrain of the Belize Blue Hole. Although it has been a popular dive site for decades, the lack of light and the twisting cave labyrinth makes it impossible for divers to spend much time in the Belize Blue Hole. The submarine task force will use latest generation three-person submarines to map and video record the layout of the Belize Blue Hole.

The submarine expedition will be headed up by Harvey Flemming, the CEO of the Canadian company Aquatica that manufactures the submarines. Also on board will be Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of the legendary marine biologist and documentarian Jacques Cousteau who first brought the Belize Blue Hole to the world’s attention in 1971.

A recent study by Rice University of sedimentary evidence found in coastal Belize led researchers to believe that the collapse of the ancient Maya civilization was the result of an epic drought that may have lasted up to 100 years. For reasons still being debated, the majority of the ancient Maya cities in Belize and across Central America were abandoned around the year 900 AD, some 600 years before the arrival of the first European colonizers.

And earlier this month, a research team from Louisiana State University discovered that an ancient saltworks in the Payne’s Creek National Park in southeastern Belize had been used as a kind of factory to preserve fish and meat. By performing microscopic analyses of tools found at the site, the researchers determined that the ancient Maya were producing salt and preserved food at scale, helping archeologists better understand how the ancient culture managed to feed its enormous population estimated at over one million people.

If you’re interested in visiting Belize and learning more about the Belize Blue Hole or the ancient Maya civilization, you can rely on the expertise of Adventures in Belize, the premier travel company in Belize.