Best known for a rich archaeological history in the form of pre-Columbian structures such as Chichen Itza and–perhaps more ominously–for a prediction that the end of the world will happen this Friday, the Mayan civilization has influenced both scholastic and amateur followers of Mesoamerican culture for centuries.
Like many others, Guillermo de Anda, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer, is fascinated by Mayan history. However, his research doesn’t take him past traditional centers of culture, such as picturesque temples. Instead, de Anda has spent much of his career diving into underwater cave systems and cenotes (or sinkholes) on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico in order to understand why the Mayan people interred the bones of their human sacrifices so deep underground.
De Anda showed a National Geographic Live audience the methods involved in exploring these underwater caves and what the contents within revealed about Mayan culture.