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A flooded sinkhole in southern Mexico so frightens nearby villagers that they won’t go anywhere near it. The ancient Maya seem to have kept their distance too.

A recent underwater survey in the cavern, or cenote, located in Mexico’s Yucatán, has found a likely reason for its fearsome reputation—the floors of its two chambers are littered with human bones.

To investigate the cenote, archaeologist Bradley Russell and his team spent two weeks last August diving into its submerged reaches. Russell received a grant from the National Geographic Society and the Waitt Foundation for this work. Read more.

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