In one of the world’s biggest underwater discoveries, Mexican divers have found a flooded cave near Tulum, a beach resort on the Yucatan peninsula. The cave is part of the Sac Actun cave system, which now measures a total length of 347 km.
The discovery was made by members of Gran Acuifero Mayaa, a projectdedicated to the study and preservation of underground water systems in Yucatan. After a few months of exploring divers found an underwater link between two existing caves. After examining the flooded area divers found rocks and stones with ancient markings, grave sites and remains of human bones.
The flooded cave may be connected with the ancient Maya civilisation and could help us understand the Mayan culture. The Yucatan peninsula is full of monuments and ancient Mayan sites.
Mayan cities and temples were built over sinkholes, so-called cenotes. They were natural pits that were formed by the collapse of limestone, revealing subterranean rivers.
ancient = very old
collapse = when something suddenly falls down or apart
connect = to join together
dedicated = to work on something very hard
discovery = to find something new for the first time
diver = person who swims or works under water using special equipment that helps them breathe
examine = to look at something very closely
flooded cave = natural hole in the earth that is full of water
grave site = place where people are buried
length = how long something is
limestone = type of rock that lets water through and has calcium in it
link = connection
measure = how large something is
peninsula = piece of land that is surrounded by water on three sides
pit = hole in the ground
preservation = to try to keep something in its original state
remains = what is left over from a human body
resort = town where people spend their holidays
reveal = to show something that you didn’t see before
sinkhole = a hole in the ground caused when the surface collapses
Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Christ was sold for $450 million at an art auction at Christie’s in New York. It was more than double the price of any art object ever sold.
The painting, Salvator Mundi, is one of the raremasterpieces of the Renaissance painter. Created at around 1500 it is one of 20 da Vinci paintings still in private possession.
Salvator Mundi was once owned by King Charles I of England in the middle of the 17th century. The painting was believed to have been destroyed until it resurfaced in 1900. In England, it was sold for a mere $125 because art experts at the time thought it was a worthless copy, either done by one of da Vinci’s followers or students. Even today, the painting’s authenticity is still in doubt.
After being restored several times, a Russian billionaire bought the painting in 2013. The new owner intends to remain anonymous.
The oil painting shows the upper body of Jesus Christ as the world’s saviour. In one hand he holds a glass sphere in, while the other hand is raised in blessing.
Currently, there is only one da Vinci in the United States. Ginevra de’ Benci can be observedin public at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
anonymous = not known by name
auction = a public meeting where paintings and other things are sold to the person who offers the most money
authenticity = the quality of being real or true
billionaire = person who has one thousand million dollars, euros etc..
in blessing = with the help or protection from God
century = a hundred years
Christie’s = famous auction house in New York
currently = now, at the moment
destroy = to damage completely so that you no longer can use it
in doubt = here: it may not be real
in public = where everyone can see it
intend = want to be
masterpiece = a work of art that is of very high quality or the best of a famous artist
mere = only
observe = see something
own = possess; if something belongs to you
possession = something that belongs to you
raise = hold up
rare = not found very often
Renaissance = period of time in Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries, when art, literature and scientific ideas became very important
restore = repair, so that it appears like it once was
resurface = to appear again after being lost or missing for some time
saviour = a person who saves someone in a dangerous situation – here: Jesus Christ