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Most people don’t know there are Teotihuacan tunnels creating a labyrinth below the archaeological site

The Newly Found Teotihuacan Tunnel Reveals Secrets of a Moon Goddess and Ancient Human Sacrifices

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Archaeological explorers in Mexico have confirmed the existence of hidden tunnel and a 50-foot (15 meter) diameter chamber beneath the Pyramid of the Moon in modern-day San Juan Teotihuacán, northeast of Mexico City.

The long tunnel was first discovered in June 2017 running beneath the Pyramid of the Moon which is the second-largest structure in the ancient city (the largest is the Pyramid of the Sun). According to a 2017 report in the  International Business Times , the tunnel, which is about 33 feet (10 meters) deep, “Extends from a central square known as the Plaza de la Luna to the nearby pyramid.”

A Live Science article about the discovery stated: “Researchers found the tunnel in early June [2017] by using an electrical tomography scan… To implement the scan, the researchers injected electric current into the subsoil and measured the resistance of the different materials found there. Then, they used the resulting data to create preliminary 2D and 3D models.”

Computer generated models of the Pyramid of the Moon tunnels and underground chamber.

Computer generated models of the Pyramid of the Moon tunnels and underground chamber. ( INAH)

Researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), indicated to press at that this newly discovered tunnel and space “Might have been used for religious purposes.” Doctor Verónica Ortega Cabera, director of the Integral Conservation Project for the Plaza of the Moon, said the investigation into the ritual space revealed it was “Dedicated to the underworld that allegedly made the ancient city sacred.”

An article about the discovery in The Daily Mail explained that The Pyramid of the Moon was built between 1 and 350 AD through successive stages. At forty-six meters (150 feet) high with a base measuring 168 meters (550 feet) square, Ortega told reporters the newly found tunnel “is located to the south of the Plaza de la Luna, but it is likely that there is another entrance to the east side.”

The name “Pyramid of the Moon” was given by the Aztec people who discovered Teotihuacan centuries after the original inhabitants had abandoned the region. A platform atop the Pyramid of the Moon is known to have been used to conduct ceremonies in honor of the Great Goddess of Teotihuacan, the ruling deity of creation, fertility, and water. Opposite the altar dedicated to the Great Goddess is the Plaza of the Moon, which contains a central altar and an original construction of four internal rectangular divisions that form a shape known as the "Teotihuacan Cross.”

Teotihuacan

Teotihuacan. ( Public Domain )

Being located on an elevated piece of land at the highest point in the complex, it overlooks a plaza below, surrounded by twelve smaller pyramidal platforms which archaeologists believe “allowed thousands of people to witness sacrificial rituals.” A report in The Sun tells that the tombs discovered within the pyramid contained the remains of animal and human sacrifice “as well as grave objects made of obsidian and greenstone.”

The Daily Mail reported Ortega saying, “Previous explorations found skeletons of individuals with cranial deformation, as in the Mayan area, and diverse green stone objects (necklaces, anthropomorphic figures made with mosaics), so it is not difficult to think that something similar could be found in the subsoil.”

Human sacrifice remains found under the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent, Teotihuacan.

Human sacrifice remains found under the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent, Teotihuacan. (S Shepherd/ CC BY 2.0 )

Furthermore, the June 2017 electrical resistivity study discovered “marine materials" within the Temple of the Feathered Serpent , which leads experts to believe that the archaeological site could have been linked to the Caribbean and the Gulf. Ortega commented, “The large buildings built for offerings constitute the sacred core of the ancient city of Teotihuacán… What can be found in its interior could lead us to unravel the relationship between this city and other regions of Mesoamerica.”

The newfound tunnel beneath the Pyramid of the Moon isn't the only one in Teotihuacan , as both the Pyramid of the Sun and the Temple of the Feathered Serpent also have underground conduits. Ortega told Live Science that “It's possible that the region's ancient leaders used the symbolism surrounding these tunnels as a way to unite the more than 100,000 local and foreign people who lived there” and that she hoped “To explore the newfound tunnel soon and determine when it was built.”

The Pyramid of the Moon where the new tunnel and chamber were discovered.

The Pyramid of the Moon where the new tunnel and chamber were discovered. ( CEN/Mauricio Marat INAH )

When the tunnel underneath the Pyramid of the Sun was discovered in the 1970s, archaeologists found that it had been looted, most probably by the indigenous people in the Valley of Mexico in the early 16th century. However, researchers believe “The newfound tunnel could provide information about the Teotihuacan people that was taken from the cavity under the Pyramid of the sun.” And because last year archaeologists “Detected some alterations in the subsoil, particularly in large pits and channels that were likely used for rituals,” it is hoped the study of the newfound tunnel could reveal “More tunnels around the pyramid.”

Ortega added "These elements indicate that before the construction of the pyramid, there was a sacralization [performing sacred rites throughout it] of the space, since green megalithic stones have been found in front of the building.” Ortega believes that “These stones, were very valuable for Teotihuacan."

Top Image: Most people don’t know there are Teotihuacan tunnels creating a labyrinth below the archaeological site. Source: PVDN

By Ashley Cowie

Comments

Thanks for writing this. It is truly facinating.

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