Category Archives: MEXICO

Underwater Artifacts Returned to Mexico’s Lake of the Moon

Underwater Artifacts Returned to Mexico’s Lake of the Moon

A collection of objects preserved in a special container at the bottom of Lake of The Moon at high altitudes in the Nevado de Toluca Volcano in Central Mexico was deposited by Mexico’s National Institute for Anthropology and History (INAH).

Underwater archaeologist Roberto Junco deposits the archive on the bottom of the Lake of the Moon.

The artifacts were found in the lake in 2007 and kept in the last 13 years during the research under similar underwater environments.

52 pre-Hispanic ritual items returned to their site by underwater archaeologists where they were found, the bed of one of the two crater lakes of the Nevado de Toluca volcano.

Members of the underwater archaeology team at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) deposited the mostly spherical and conical resin objects on the bed of the Lake of the Moon earlier this month.

The objects, believed to have been made by the Matlatzinca people between the 13th and 15th centuries and placed in the lake by pre-Hispanic priests, are stored in a specially-made container that allows water and sediment to flow over them. As a result, they are protected from deterioration.

The trove of objects is the first in situ underwater archaeological archive in Mexico, according to an INAH statement.

The decision to preserve the objects in their place of origin complies with recommendations in the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.

The objects were found at the Nevado de Toluca crater lake in 2007 and have been studied and analyzed for the past 13 years.

Enna Llabrés and Roberto Junco prepare the collection of artifacts for a deposit on the lake bottom.

Enna Llabrés Torres, a researcher with the INAH underwater archaeology department who made the container in which the resin relics are stored, said that the objects could be removed for further study in the future as new technologies and methods of analysis emerge.

She explained that while the objects were studied over the past 13 years, they were stored underwater in conditions similar to those found at the Lake of the Moon, which is located more than 4,000 meters above sea level and has an average temperature of 3 C.

The conical objects measure 20-30 centimeters while the spherical ones are roughly the size of a baseball. INAH archaeologist Iris Hernández said that the Nevado de Toluca volcano has been considered a sacred site since pre-Hispanic times and for that reason, relics used in rituals and ceremonies have been found there.

She said that the conical objects – made out of resin of the copal tree – may have been specifically made to resemble the form of the volcano, located in modern-day México state.

According to carbon dating tests conducted by experts at the National Autonomous University Institute of Physics, the ritual objects date back to between 1216 and 1445 AD.

The time period corresponds to the rule of the Matlatzinca people in the Valley of Toluca prior to their domination by the Mexicas.

Gold bar found beneath Mexico City street was part of Moctezuma’s treasure

Gold bar found beneath Mexico City street was part of Moctezuma’s treasure

A recent scientific study of a large gold bar discovered in the city center of Mexico City decades ago shows that it was part of the plunder Spanish conquerors tried to carry away as they fled the Aztec capital after native warriors forced a hasty retreat.

A couple of months before the 500th anniversary of the battle that forced Hernan Cortes and his soldiers to flee the city briefly on 30 June 1520, the Mexico National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) announced the results of further testing of the bar

A day earlier, Aztec Emperor Moctezuma was killed or possibly assassinated, according to the native informants of one Spanish chronicler, which promoted a frenzied battle that forced Cortes, his fellow Spaniards as well as their native allies to flee for their lives.

A year later, Cortes would return and lay siege to the city, which was already weakened with supply lines cut and diseases introduced by the Spanish invaders taking a toll.

The bar was originally discovered in 1981 during a construction project some 16 feet (5 meters) underground in downtown Mexico City – which was built on the ruins of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan – where a canal that would have been used by the fleeing Spaniards was once located.

An x-ray detector scans a large gold bar found decades ago in downtown Mexico City, part of the plunder Spanish conquerors fleeing the Aztec capital after native warriors forced a hasty retreat, is seen in this handout photograph released to Reuters by the National Institute of Anthropology and History

The bar weighs about 2 kg (4.4 lb) and is 26.2 cm (10.3 inches) long, 5.4 cm (2.1 inches) wide and 1.4 cm (half an inch) thick.

A fluorescent X-ray chemical analysis was able to pinpoint its creation to between 1519-1520, according to INAH, which coincides with the time Cortes ordered gold objects stolen from an Aztec treasury to be melted down into bars for easier transport to Europe.

Historical accounts describe Cortes and his men as heavily weighed down by the gold they hoped to take with them as they fled the imperial capital during what is known today as the “Sad Night,” or “Noche Triste,” in Spanish.

“The golden bar is a unique historical testimony to a transcendent moment in world history,” said archeologist Leonardo Lopez Lujan, who leads excavations at a nearby dig where the Aztecs’ holiest shrine once stood.

Until the recent tests, scholars of the last gasps of the Aztec empire only had historical documents to rely on as confirmed sources, added Lopez Lujan.

A more in-depth and technical description of the tests performed on the bar is published in magazine Arqueologia Mexicana.

Archaeologists in Mexico Discover Treasure of Mayan Civilization and Giant Sloth Fossils in a Vast Underwater Cave

Archaeologists in Mexico Discover Treasure of Mayan Civilization and Giant Sloth Fossils in a Vast Underwater Cave

This undated photo released by Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute shows divers from the Great Mayan Aquifer project (L) exploring the Sac Actun underwater cave system, where Mayan and Pleistocene bones and cultural artefacts have been found submerged, near Tulum, Mexico.

Following 10 months of intensive exploration, Mexican scientists discovered the largest flooded cave system – and it’s truly an underwater wonderland.

This sprawling, sunken labyrinth, stretching an astounding 347 km (216 miles) of subterranean caverns, is not only a stunning marvel but also a significant archaeological find that can uncover the forgotten mysteries of the ancient Mayan civilization.

“This enormous cave is the world’s leading archaeological submerged site,” said Guillermo de Anda, an underwater archaeologist at the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico.

The largest underwater cave in the world was discovered in Mexico by explorers from the Gran Acuífero Maya.

“There are more than 100 archaeological contexts, among which are evidence of the first settlers of America, as well as extinct fauna and, of course, the Maya culture.”

De Anda heads up the Great Maya Aquifer Project (GAM), a research effort which for decades has explored underwater caves in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located on the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula.

The region hosts a stunning 358 submerged cave systems, representing some 1,400 kilometres (870 miles) of flooded freshwater tunnels hidden under the surface.

A diver from the Great Mayan Aquifer project looking at human remains believed to be from the Pleistocene era, in the Sac Actun underwater cave system, near Tulum, Mexico.

Amongst this sprawling network, a new leader emerged last week. Called the Sac Actun System, this gargantuan passage is so big it was actually thought to be two different cave systems.

Before now, another system called Dos Ojos (‘two eyes’) spanning 93 kilometres (57.8 miles) was thought to be distinct from Sac Actun, but an exhaustive 10 months of underwater probing proved the two were actually one giant continuous cavity.

“We came really close a few times. On a couple of occasions, we were a metre from making a connection between the two large cave systems,” GAM exploration director Robert Schmittner told Mexican newspaper, El Pais.

“It was like trying to follow the veins within a body. It was a labyrinth of paths that sometimes came together and sometimes separated. We had to be very careful.”

That effort paid off, and under the rules of caving, Sac Actun now absorbs Dos Ojos (and its former length), meaning at 347 kilometres long Sac Actun is now the world’s largest known underwater cave – beating out the former frontrunner, the Ox Bel Ha System, also in Quintana Roo, which stretches for 270 kilometres.

But the search isn’t over yet. Sac Actun stands to grow even larger, with the researchers saying it could be connected to three other underwater cave systems – provided further dives can show the caverns do indeed link up.

Photos by: Gran Acuifero Maya
A Mask of the Mayan god of trade in the Gran aquifer of Sac Actun in Quinta Roo state, Mexico.

Those dives won’t just shed light on how deep the fish hole goes, either.

As footage in the researchers’ video and photos show – untold volumes of preserved Maya artefacts and human remains are just waiting to be discovered and analysed from within this unprecedented cave system.

Ultimately, the scientific implications could be just as massive as the cave itself.

“We’ve recorded more than 100 archaeological elements: the remains of extinct fauna, early humans, Maya archaeology, ceramics, and Maya graves,” de Anda told the Mexican media.

“It’s a tunnel of time that transports you to a place 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.”

“Ancient Rocket” Found Beneath Pakal’s Tomb

“Ancient Rocket” Found Beneath Pakal’s Tomb

King Pacal’s stone Sarcophagus lid created considerable controversial hypotheses, one of which is Traditional scholars claiming the inscriptions tell of King Pacal on a journey to the underworld, but ancient astronaut theorists claim that the king is represented at the seat of a spacecraft’s controls and have dubbed him the Palenque astronaut.

King K’inich Janaab’ Pakal also known as Pacal was the Maya king of Palenque (today- Mexico).  He was most famous for raising the city of Palenque from relative obscurity to great power, his building projects in the city (especially the Temple of the Inscriptions), and his elaborately carved sarcophagus lid which has been interpreted as an ancient astronaut riding on a rocket ship. Pacal assumed the throne of Palenque at the age of 12, in 615 CE, and ruled successfully until his death at the age of 80.

Pacal was the son of Lady Sak K’uk who reigned as Queen of Palenque from 612-615 CE. She ruled for three years until her son reached maturity which, at that time, was the age of 12.

Pacal almost instantly began building enormous and elaborately worked monuments in order to celebrate both the city’s past and his family’s legitimate claim to rule.

Temple of the Inscriptions:

Temple of the Inscriptions pyramid was constructed in 675 CE and it was built as the tomb of Pacal. The Temple of the Inscriptions is a pyramid with a small building at the top inscribed with the second-longest continuous Mayan text yet uncovered in Mesoamerica.

Discovery:

For a century after Palenque was discovered, the pyramid was thought to be a religious center in the city (as the inscriptions were undecipherable) until the Mexican Archaeologist Alberto Ruiz recognized that the walls of the small temple continued down below the floor.

He discovered that the platform of the floor had drill holes, which had been sealed by stone plugs, and surmised that the Maya had lowered the floor into place with ropes, perhaps, to seal a royal tomb.

Between 1948 and 1952 CE, Ruiz worked with his team, excavating the temple and, finally, discovered the tomb of Pacal the Great. He shone his flashlight down into the tomb.

Whatever he has seen, he writes like this-

“Out of the dim shadows emerged a vision from a fairy tale, a fantastic, ethereal sight from another world. It seemed a huge magic grotto carved out of ice, the walls sparkling and glistening like snow crystals. Delicate festoons of stalactites hung like tassels of a curtain, and the stalagmites on the floor looked like drippings from a great candle.

The impression, in fact, was that of an abandoned chapel. Across the walls marched stucco figures in low relief. Then my eyes sought the floor. This was almost entirely filled with a great carved stone slab, in perfect condition.”

Pacal’s Sarcophagus:

The Sarcophagus’ lid measures 3.6×2 meters (12×7 feet) and shows king Pacal sitting in some kind of spacecraft. He is at an angle like modern-day astronauts upon lift-off. He is manipulating some controls.

He has some type of breathing apparatus or some type of a telescope in front of his face. His feet are on some type of pedal. And you have something that looks like an exhaust with flames.

His upper hand is manipulating some controls. From the lower hand,  he is turning something on. The heel of his left foot is on a kind of pedal and, outside the capsule, you see a linking flame. This is incredible. This is absolute proof of extraterrestrials.

The most famous symbol in this picture is that of the “World Tree”- Shows a man tilting backward at the base of a tree, with a bird high at the top, either falling into or springing out of what appears to be a large urn. Glyphs and symbols run around the edges of the lid, all representing important components of Mayan cosmology.

The World Tree, which the Maya believed had its roots in the underworld, trunk on the earthly plane, and branches high in paradise, and Pacal’s relationship to it in death.

The king is depicted either at the moment of his death falling from the earthly plane down into Xibalba or at the moment of his resurrection from the underworld, climbing up the World Tree toward paradise.

The adornments along the edges represent the sky and other glyphs the sun and moon and, still others, past rulers of Palenque and Pacal’s place among them. The bird at the top of the tree is the Bird of Heaven (also known as The Celestial Bird or Principal Bird Deity) who represents the realm of the gods in this piece, and the `urn’ beneath Pacal is the entrance to Xibalba.

The celestial bird represented the heavens and thus was pictured on the top of the World Tree. Roots of the World Tree extending into the underworld which is not just typical for depictions of the World Tree, it’s pretty much a requirement. In the underworld, we see a picture of the Mayan sun monster which Pacal is riding into the underworld. So Pacal is hitching a ride on the sun into the underworld.

In Mayan art whenever you see a so-called “traveler”- which is a person in transition from one world to the next – there must be something that is making that travel possible.

Sometimes it is a twisted umbilical cord, but almost always it is a serpent, often a double-headed serpent. In other words, being in the mouths of a double-headed serpent was a symbol of transition from one world to the next.

You can see that the so-called smoke is actually the traditional serpent’s beard which appears in almost every depiction of a serpent in Mayan art.