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Search for the Lost Cave People

Program Overview


The Maya are often credited with inventing the first complex writing system on the American continent, but recent archeology shows that a little-known people called the Zoque developed a sophisticated script long before the Maya. Who were the Zoque? Were they responsible for such technological advances as a calendrical system and sophisticated numerical systems?

Some 300 caves carved into canyon walls in the Rio la Venta Gorge, located in the Chiapas jungle in Central America, may hold some answers. The relative inaccessibility and extreme dryness of the caves have preserved clothes, rope, and wooden implements—artifacts that rarely survive in Central America. NOVA follows a team of archeologists as they uncover artifacts that could reveal new understandings about the Zoque and their place in Mesoamerican history.

Map of Mexico with Chiapas region noted

Teacher's Guide
Search for the Lost Cave People
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