Alberto Nava

Alberto Nava speaking at OZTek2019


Alberto “Beto” Nava is a Venezuelan-American engineer, diver, dive instructor and explorer based in California. He has over 18 years of experience diving and has completed over 200 underwater cave dives. His longest cave exploration length has been 15,500 feet


Nava and his group of fellow divers enjoy exploring cenotes in the Yucatan region of Mexico. 

It was on one of these excursions he and his colleagues discovered Hoyo Negro (Black Hole). The bottom of Hoyo Negro contained many bones of several Ice-Age megafauna and bones of a young girl who lived 13,000 years ago. They eventually named her Naia.

This discovery started one of the most important studies of the first Americans in recent history. From 2011 to 2015, Nava was a National Geographic Explorers Grant recipient. He used the grant to continue diving and photographing Hoyo Negro. His photography is now being used in the innovative labs of the Cultural Heritage Engineering Initiative at the Qualcomm Institute at the University of California, San Diego to create a unique 3-D experience of Hoyo Negro for those who cannot do the difficult dives and would like to experience and study the space. Nava has also published several papers on diving, underwater mapping, and the discovery of Hoyo Negro.


Nava also holds bachelor and master degrees in computer science from the Simon Bolivar National University in Venezuela and has worked as an engineer for over 20 years.

Alberto Nava will speaking at OZTek2019 about the Hoyo Negro 

Image caption: Hoyo Negro is an intense chamber inside an underwater caves in the Yucatan Peninsula, about 20km from the town of Tulum. The chamber was dry at the end of the Pleistocene and was formed by hundreds centuries of climate change as the sea level varies more than 100m, allowing the large pit to form on the upper layer of the karst that covers the east side of the Peninsula. During periods of dry conditions, animals and humans entered this chamber and some of them found their final moments at the bottom of it. At the bottom of Hoyo Negro more than 26 different animals remains were found, and the remains of a young girl, named Naia, were also found at the bottom of the pit. Naia is the oldest set of human remains found in the Americas.