Hangout in an Ancient Maya Cave

Did you miss our Hangout with underwater archaeologist Guillermo de Anda? Watch it here!

On January 13th, to mark the 125th anniversary of the founding of the National Geographic Society, we gathered together explorers on all 7 continents for a live group video chat via Google+ Hangout.

Now we’re taking you right into the action, as NG Explorer and underwater archaeologist Guillermo de Anda leads us from the jungle into a vast cavern to reveal remnants of ancient Maya civilization. Also joining the conversation will be geo-archaeologist Beverly Goodman, who studies the interaction of people and the sea, and paleontologist Jørn Hurum, who’s uncovered ancient sea monsters and the most complete early primate fossil ever found.

Homun, Mexico – Guillermo de Anda enters cenote San Antonio. The cenotes are considered a very holy place as the entrance to the underworld. (Photo by NGT)

And getting into the cave is only the start of the story. From there, Guillermo’s team-members will suit-up and dive into the waters of hidden cenotes, flooded caves that contain bones and artifacts stretching back thousands of years.

What did ancient people do in these caves? How did they make their art, and what did the caves mean to them? How much of this world remains to be explored?

Join us for the adventure LIVE Friday February 8, at 1pm EST here on this blog post, or on National Geographic on Google+.

Pisté, Mexico – Ropes team work hard under the rain and flood at Cenote Holtun. The team has been trying to find out more about the modern apocalypse by diving to the bottom of the deep and dangerous Cenote Holtun. (Photo by NGT)
Pisté, Mexico – Inside view from cenote Holtun. The openings to the cenote are believed to be thousands of years old, created at the hands of the Maya. (Photo by NGT)


In the meantime, catch up on Guillermo’s greatest discoveries, and post your questions for him below!

Skull in Underwater Cave May Be Earliest Trace of First Americans

Portal to Maya Underworld Found in Mexico?

[List of participants updated 2/7/2013.]


Learn More

Guillermo de Anda Bio

National Geographic on Google+

Watch Previous National Geographic Hangouts

See More Photos From “Maya Underworld” on Nat Geo Channel

Andrew Howley is a longtime contributor to the National Geographic blog, with a particular focus on archaeology and paleoanthropology generally, and ancient rock art in particular. In 2018 he became Communications Director at Adventure Scientists, founded by Nat Geo Explorer Gregg Treinish. Over 11 years at the National Geographic Society, Andrew worked in various ways to share the stories of NG explorers and grantees online. He also produced the Home Page of nationalgeographic.com for several years, and helped manage the Society's Facebook page during its breakout year of 2010. He studied Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology from the College of William & Mary in Virginia. He has covered expeditions with NG Explorers-in-Residence Mike Fay, Enric Sala, and Lee Berger. His personal interests include painting, running, and reading about history. You can follow him on Twitter @anderhowl and on Instagram @andrewjhowley.
  • Carlos Almeida

    It is amazing what you do. How can you be prepared for what you may find in a place where anyone has been?
    Thank you.
    Keep the good job.

  • Caroline Cannon

    I’m Mayan and I’m so excited about this! I was adopted when I was a baby and have always enjoyed learning more about my ancestors and collected articles almost my whole life. This is truly awesome!

  • Alex Caswell

    What do you think might be in this cave, or what did you think would be in there, if anything?
    Thanks for reading! Good luck!

  • Julien Gnar Gomez

    How do you think these caves reflect on the ancient Mayans in terms of a religious hole or path into afterlife?

  • Julien Gnar Gomez

    Another question , is there a possibility of the ancient alien theory coming into play here ?


    How does the hangout work and what kind of bones have been fond


    How old do u think the animal bones r


    But now I m waiting for u

  • Lisa de Vincent

    The caves are amazing and the fact that they built a pyramid down there is mindblowing, equally as fantastic is that we can talk real time on Google+ while Guillermo is trying to navigate in the dark. I love NG, I started with the magazine when I was a kid and it’s just getting better, is that even possible? Looking forward to Guillermo’s next chat from a UFO.

  • Concerned Climber

    This article caught my eye because his knot looks terrible. Why is the safety knot tied over the top of the figure 8? and he has two carabiners linked together going into his harness. I understand these guys are scientists and not climbers, but that looks scary.

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