Published On: Thu, Oct 17th, 2019

Mayan mystery: How archaeologists uncovered secret ‘passage to the underworld’ in Mexico | World | News

The Pyramid of the Moon is the second-largest in Mexico, behind the Pyramid of the Sun. Dating back to as far as 100AD, the structure is located at the end of the Avenue of the Dead, in modern-day San Juan Teotihuacan, a place used for performing ritual sacrifices of animals and humans by the Mayans. After building on investigations lasting more than 300 years, archaeologists discovered a hidden tunnel that leads to a 15-metre-across chamber deep in the heart of the structure.

Researchers believe this mysterious cavity might have been a funeral space, acting as a “passage to the underworld”.

The discovery was announced by archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) working in collaboration with geophysicists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, at the Archaeological Zone of Teotihuacan around 25 miles northeast of Mexico City. 

Director for the project, Dr Veronica Ortega, said last year: “In the explorations carried out at the end of the Eighties of the last century, through tunnels excavated in the body of the pyramid, archaeologists Ruben Cabrera and Saburo Sugiyama found skeletons of individuals with cranial deformation, as in the Mayan area, and various green stone objects.

“So it is not difficult to think that something similar could be found underground.

“The 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, so it is essential to have complete radiography to know where its entrance is.

“These large complex offerings constitute the sacred core of the city of Teotihuacan, so all people considered it the mecca of civilisation, hence what can be found inside can help unravel the relationships that this ancient metropolis with other regions of Mesoamerica.

“The discovery confirms that the inhabitants of Teotihuacan followed the same pattern in their large-scale temples and that their function was to emulate the underworld.”

READ MORE: How laser scan revealed network of hidden cities in ‘major breakthrough’

In ancient times, Teotihuacan became one of the largest ancient settlements in the Americas with at least 25,000 inhabitants.

Built by a pre-Columbian civilisation it was eventually occupied by the Aztecs.

However, despite extensive study of the area, archaeologists have never been able to find the remains of any of the city’s rulers.

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