Reconstructing Water Levels and Access to Hoyo Negro


"Hoyo Negro" was discovered in the Sac Actun Cave system in the Yucatan Peninsula; Mexico which contained abundant fossil remains of Pleistocene animals including the remains of a young PaleoIndian woman. There are several cenotes of varying size and age which may have been used by Paleoamericans to access Hoyo Negro. The two closest cenotes are "Ich Balam" and "Oasis". To determine if these cenotes provided access to Hoyo Negro during occupation of the area, the paleoenvironmental evolution of Ich Balam and Cenote Oasis were investigated. Measurements of cave conduit morphology were taken from Cenote Oasis to Hoyo Negro. Additionally, 9 sediment cores were acquired directly in, and around the cenotes. Radiocarbon dating, identification and abundances of foraminifera, thecamoebians and ostracods were determined for each core to reconstruct the flooding history of the pit and cave passages. Microfossil assemblages, along with sedimentary markers, indicated that Ich Balam was open by at least 8170 Cal BP and the Hoyo Negro Pit was isolated from the surface around 8000 Cal BP due to the flooded cave passage. These results provide constraints on the access and use of Hoyo Negro, and provide important information for interpreting the taphonomic history of the skeletal material.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Reconstructing Water Levels and Access to Hoyo Negro. Shawn Collins, Eduard Reinhardt, Dominique Rissolo. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396534)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;