The secret cave lies hidden below the enormous ‘Moon Pyramid’

The secret cave lies hidden below the enormous ‘Moon Pyramid’

An underground cave hidden under a Mexican pyramid provides clues about Teotihuacan’s urban architecture, one of the oldest and most vibrant cities of ancient times. Located about 80 kilometres outside present-day Mexico City, Teotihuacan peaked long before the Aztecs in AD 300-650. Three monumental pyramids were arranged along the 2.4-kilometre ‘Path of the Dead’ in the area.

Two of the pyramids had already been known to overlie caves and tunnels, which were excavated by Teotihuacanos to procure building materials, and were later rebuilt for activities such as astronomical observation, veneration of death and the enthronement of rulers.

Denisse Argote at the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City and her colleagues measured the electrical resistance of the ground beneath the third structure, the 43-meter-high Moon Pyramid.

The sprawling Moon Pyramid at Teotihuacan, Mexico, was dedicated to the feminine deity of water, according to one theory.

They discovered a partially filled cavern about 15 meters underneath the edifice.

Unlike the other caves, this one seems to have formed naturally. Argote and her colleagues think the first settlers of Teotihuacan might have chosen it to be the focal point from which the rest of the city was planned.

Hard Science Unlocks Secrets of Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Moon

Previous archaeological digs at Teotihuacan have revealed a series of man-made tunnels beneath the Pyramids of the Sun and of Quetzalcoatl, the latter of which is also called the Temple of the Feathered-Serpent.

These had mostly been excavated for construction materials in upper structures, and according to a report in Heritage Daily, these tunnels were later “repurposed for astronomical observations and for venerating death in the underworld.”

The team of scientists applied ERT and ANT surveys, which are non-invasive geophysical techniques analyzing the electrical resistance of the ground beneath the structure.

They identified a natural void beneath the Pyramid of the Moon and a partially filled cavern at a depth of 15 meters (49 ft.) Contrasting with the man-made tunnels beneath the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan, the researchers believe that the cave under the Pyramid of the Moon “formed naturally,” and had been a focal point for the early settlers, in turn, influencing how the city was planned out.

Otherworldly Architectural Town Planning

The discovery under Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Moon help’s explain the city’s urban design.

With the placement of the pyramid at the end of the Avenue of the Dead, at the foot of Cerro Gordo, shaped to reflect the contours of these mountains, the researchers theorize that it was “symbolic of a connection between the avenue and the watery underworld, whereas the mountain serves as an anchor to the earth.” They said the impact of this discovery opens a discussion about the original planning of Teotihuacan’s urban design.

The first human establishment in the area dates back to around 600 BC when farmers began tilling the Teotihuacan Valley, which at that time had a total population of about 6,000 inhabitants.

However, due to the development of successful agricultural technologies, from 100 BC to 750 AD, Teotihuacan morphed into a huge urban and administrative centre with cultural influences throughout Mesoamerica.

Mapping the Ancient Underworld

Period III, from 350 to 650 AD, the so-called classical period of Teotihuacan, had an estimated 125,000 inhabitants. At that time it was one of the largest cities of the ancient world – with over 2,000 buildings in an 18 square kilometre (6.95 sq. mile) area.

This period saw the massive reconstruction of monuments; including the decorating of the Temple of the Feathered Serpent which dates back to an earlier period.

Period IV, between 650 and 750 AD, marks the end of Teotihuacan as a major power in Mesoamerica. The remains of the homes of the city’s elites, which line the Avenue of the Dead, bear burn marks which lead archaeologists to hypothesize that the city experienced waves of violent social unrest that brought about the city’s decline.

What the newly discovered cave system essentially does is answer the question “why” the first settlers stopped here and started building precisely where they did, and not say 10 miles east or five miles south.

The cave beneath the pyramid suggests that people revered this natural access to the underworld so much that around it they built one of the most influential and biggest cities of the ancient world.

And the remains of that vast crumbling ancient city, which was aligned with the Sun, moon, and stars, it would seem, is a 1:1 map of the underworld – with the Avenue of the Dead acting as the main channel to the other side.

10,000 Year Old Rock Paintings Depicting Aliens And UFOs Found in India

10,000 Year Old Rock Paintings Depicting Aliens And UFOs Found in India

Even before the great tectonic plate shift, the former central province of India, now Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, was the site of pre-agrarian human settlement. That is why a number of prehistoric cave paintings have been discovered in the region. Some of them are known to us like Bhimbetka where we mainly find cave paintings made by a hunter-gatherer population.

Representational Image of cave painting in India dated from 1500-2000 BC found in Bhimbetka, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Recently in the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh, just 43 miles from the local administrative centre of Raisen, ancient 10,000-year-old rock paintings depicting UFOs and extra-terrestrials have been discovered in the caves. The caves are hidden deep within the dense jungle in Charama region in Kanker district in tribal Bastar region. Located about 130km from Raipur, the caves come under village Chandeli and Gotitola.

A group of anthropologists working with hill tribes in a remote area have made a startling discovery of intricate prehistoric cave paintings depicting aliens and UFO type craft next to a look-alike ‘wormhole’ formation in the sky.

Alien rock

A few years back, a three-and-a-half- million-years- the old prehistoric human skull was discovered in the Ahthnor village of Madhya Pradesh by geologist Dr Arun Sonakia. Possibilities that the above image was drawn by those ancient humans can’t be ruled out, said Dr Sonakia.

The state of Chhattisgarh has an abundance of ancient rock paintings. Many sites have paintings of humans and animals in everyday scenes. However, some researchers have referred to some rather unusual paintings, such as those depicting what appear to be kangaroos and giraffes (mainly in Kabra hills of Raigarh area of the state of Chhattisgarh) which are not native to the country, as well as human-fish hybrid creatures. Now, it is claimed that aliens and UFOs can be added to this collection.

The paintings are done in natural colours that have barely faded despite the passing of years. The strangely carved figures are seen holding weapon-like objects and do not have clear features. Especially, the nose and mouth are missing. In a few pictures, they are even shown wearing spacesuits. The newly-discovered depictions date back some 10,000 years.

The images may be depicting extra-terrestrials and UFOs as the paintings include large, humanoid beings descending from the sky, some wearing what looks like a helmet or antennae, as well as a disc-shaped craft with three rays (or legs) from its base. There are several beliefs among locals from the area.

While few worship the paintings, others narrate stories they have heard from ancestors about ‘rohela people’, which translates to “the small sized ones”. According to legend, the ‘rohela people’ used to land from the sky in a round shaped flying object and take away one or two persons of village who never returned.

According to one archaeologist, the art reflects the belief among ancient humans that we are not alone in the universe. The findings suggest that humans in prehistoric times may have seen or imagined beings from other planets which still arouse curiosity among people and researchers.

Archaeologists typically identify them as ‘shamanic’ images of humans, or human-animal hybrids, and geometric forms. Images of figures with antlers, antennae, or spiritual rays are familiar, and in fact quite common, in shamanic art.

A clear image of what might be an alien or ET in a spacesuit can be seen in above a cave painting along with a classical flying saucer-shaped UFO that appears to be either beaming something down or beaming something up, in what might be an ancient UFO abduction scenario.

A force-field or trail of some sort is seen at the rear of the UFO. Also visible is another object that might depict a wormhole, explaining how aliens were able to reach Earth. Down below is the wormhole. The concept was discussed by physicist Stephen Hawking but in a skeptical manner. But isn’t it fascinating that ancient Indian possibly witnessed wormholes, UFO and alien visitations while Stephen Hawking remained skeptic about them?

Local archaeologist, Mr Wassim Khan, has personally seen the images. He claims that the objects and creatures seen in them are totally anomalous and out of character when compared to other, already discovered, examples of prehistoric cave art depicting ancient life in the area. As such, he believes that they might suggest beings from other planets have been interacting with humans since prehistoric times.

It may be better explained that encounters like this helped ancient Indian civilization to understand how those alien spaceship worked and later documented in ‘Vimana shastra’. This explanation, in turn, establishes the ‘ancient astronaut theory’ which postulates that human civilization was established with the assistance of benevolent space-travelling aliens.

On enlargement, two objects that look like hats floating in mid-air can be noticed, as also one of them appears to have portholes on it. Indian Vedic texts are full of descriptions of Vimanas. The Ramayana describes Vimanas as a double-decked, circular or cylindrical aircraft with portholes and a dome. It flew with “the speed of the wind” and made a “melodious sound”.

It is not uncommon in Madhya Pradesh that commoners claiming sight of UFO in nearby areas till this date. The latest entrant to the list of people in Madhya Pradesh that have claimed to have seen Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO), states Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Ramkrishna Kusmaria in July 2014.

Kusmaria said while he was on an official tour he spotted a UFO in Sukha village in Damoh district, about 135 miles from ancient cave painting site. Kusmaria said he clearly saw the object in the sky, and it was emitting sharp sparks. “The object caused damage to the standing crops in the area. I saw papaya fruits fall off the tree as the UFO passed by,” the minister said.

The State Department of Archaeology and Culture in Chhattisgarh is seeking assistance from the Indian Space Research Organisation to research a set of ancient rock paintings found inside caves near the town of Charama in Kanker district, in the tribal Bastar region.

Discovered by chance 94 years on Bodies of 21 German soldiers in perfectly-preserved First World War trenches

Discovered by chance 94 years on Bodies of 21 German soldiers in perfectly-preserved First World War trenches

The bodies of 21 German soldiers entombed in a perfectly preserved World War One shelter have been discovered 94 years after they were killed. The men were part of a larger group of 34 who were buried alive when a huge Allied shell exploded above the tunnel in 1918, causing it to cave in.

Thirteen bodies were recovered from the underground shelter, but the remaining men had to be left under a mountain of mud as it was too dangerous to retrieve them.

Nearly a century later, French archaeologists stumbled upon the mass grave on the former Western Front in eastern France during excavation work for a road-building project.

Mass grave: The bodies of 21 German soldiers entombed in a perfectly preserved First World War shelter have been discovered in France 94 years after they were killed

Many of the skeletal remains were found in the same positions the men had been in at the time of the collapse, prompting experts to liken the scene to Pompeii.

A number of the soldiers were discovered sitting upright on a bench, one was lying in his bed and another was in the foetal position having been thrown down a flight of stairs.

As well as the bodies, poignant personal effects such as boots, helmets, weapons, wine bottles, spectacles, wallets, pipes, cigarette cases and pocketbooks were also found.

Even the skeleton of a goat was found, assumed to be a source of fresh milk for the soldiers. Archaeologists believe the items have been so well-preserved because hardly any air, water, or lights had penetrated the trench.

The 300ft-long tunnel was located 18ft beneath the surface near the small town of Carspach in the Alsace region of France.

Michael Landolt, the archaeologist leading the dig, said: ‘It’s a bit like Pompeii. Everything collapsed in seconds and is just the way it was at the time.

‘Here, as in Pompeii, we found the bodies as they were at the moment of their death. Some of the men were found in sitting positions on a bench, others lying down. One was projected down a flight of wooden stairs and was found in a foetal position.

‘The collapsed shelter was filled with soil. The items were very well-preserved because of the absence of air and light and water.

‘Metal objects were rusty, wood was in good condition and we found some pages of newspapers that were still readable. The leather was in good condition as well, still supple.

‘The items will be taken to a laboratory, cleaned and examined.’

Discovered by chance 94 years on Bodies of 21 German soldiers in perfectly-preserved First World War trenches
A drinks cup and the remains of a rifle that have survived almost intact for a century. Archaeologists believe the items have been so well-preserved because hardly any air, water, or lights penetrated the trench
Stuck in time: A German newspaper from 1918 lies partly preserved inside the shelter

Archaeologists also uncovered the wooden sides, floors, and stairways of the shelter. The dead soldiers were part of the 6th Company, 94th Reserve Infantry Regiment.

Their names are all known – they include Musketeer Martin Heidrich, 20, Private Harry Bierkamp, 22, and Lieutenant August Hutten, 37, whose names are inscribed on a memorial in the nearby German war cemetery of Illfurth.

The bodies have been handed over to the German War Graves Commission but unless relatives can be found and they request the remains to be repatriated, it is planned that the men will be buried at Illfurth.

The underground tunnel was big enough to shelter 500 men and had 16 exits. It would have been equipped with heating, telephone connections, electricity, beds, and a pipe to pump out water.

The French attacked the shelter on March 18, 1918, with aerial mines that penetrated the ground and blasted in the sidewall of the shelter in two points.

It is estimated that over 165,000 Commonwealth soldiers are still unaccounted for on the Western Front.

Helmet: Soldiers were discovered sitting upright on a bench, one was lying in his bed and another was in the foetal position having been thrown down a flight of stairs
Poignant: Personal effects such as this leather holster, boots, helmets, weapons, wine bottles, spectacles, wallets, pipes, cigarette cases and pocket books were found
Vintage: Bottle with stopper still in the top
Archaeologists uncover the buried shelter, which was attacked by the French on March 18, 1918, with aerial mines that penetrated the ground and blasted in the side wall of the shelter in two points
War: Germans in the trench

4-Year-Old Girl Finds Dinosaur Footprint On Beach In Wales

4-Year-Old Girl Finds Dinosaur Footprint On Beach In Wales

A four-year-old girl, walking while vacationing with her family in Wales, found a very well preserved, and probably a new trace of dinosaur tracks. The footprints found are from an extinct species of crocodilians, extinct ancestors of modern crocodiles.

4-Year-Old Girl Finds Dinosaur Footprint On Beach In Wales
The footprint dates back 220 million years

The dinosaur that made the print probably stood 30 inches (75 centimeters) tall and 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) long. Its 4-inch (10 cm) track looks similar to that of the dinosaur Coelophysis, though that particular species lived in North America, not what is now Europe. 

Lily Wilder, a preschooler on a stroll with her father at Bendricks Bay, discovered the track.

“It was Lily and Richard (her father) who discovered the footprint,” Lily’s mother Sally Wilder said in a statement. “Lily saw it as they were walking along, and said ‘Daddy look.’

When Richard came home and showed me the photograph, I thought it looked amazing. Richard thought it was too good to be true. I was put in touch with experts who took it from there.”

The print was on a loose rock and has now been removed to National Museum Wales (Amgueddfa Cymru in Welsh) with permission from Natural Resources Wales, the government-sponsored body that regulates conservation and environmental issues. 

“This fossilized dinosaur footprint from 220 million years ago is one of the best-preserved examples from anywhere in the U.K. and will really aid paleontologists to get a better idea about how these early dinosaurs walked,” Cindy Howells, the paleontology curator at the museum, said in the statement. 

The fossil is so detailed that the claws and pads of the feet are visible. The print is a type known as a grallator, meaning a bipedal theropod dinosaur with three toes created it.

The dinosaur lived at the beginning of the Triassic period when the region was a desert dotted with occasional saline lakes.

Dinosaurs had evolved only about 10 million years before this mysterious three-toed creature walked this landscape, so its print is a tantalizing clue into early dinosaur history, according to National Museum Wales.

“During the COVID pandemic, scientists from Amgueddfa Cymru have been highlighting the importance of nature on people’s doorstep, and this is a perfect example of this,” Howells said. “Obviously, we don’t all have dinosaur footprints on our doorstep, but there is a wealth of nature local to you if you take the time to really look close enough.”

Why is the area important?

A number of footprints have been found on the stretch of coastline

The Bendricks is a stretch of coastline between Barry and Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan. It is an important paleontologist site and a site of special scientific interest. The south Wales group of the Geologists’ Association called it “the best site in Britain for dinosaur tracks of the Triassic Period”.

It said: “The footprints can be difficult to see. Many are covered at high tide so it is best to go after high tide when the tracks may retain small puddles of water.

“It is also easier to spot the footprints when the sun is low in the sky as longer shadows will help throw the footprints into relief.

Ancient mummy with golden tongue found in Egypt

Ancient mummy with golden tongue found in Egypt

Archaeologists have discovered 16 burials at an ancient Egyptian site in the Taposiris Magna. The mummies were found to have a gold tongue. The team speculates that after the person’s tongue was removed during embalming it was replaced with the object so the deceased could speak to Osiris in the afterlife.

A god called Osiris is the Egyptian “Lord of the Underworld,” and he is one of the most powerful gods of the Ancient Egyptian. In other words, he is a judge of the dead

The burial shafts, dating back some 2,000 years, were popular in ancient Greek and Roman eras, which held remains inside of a mountain or natural rocky formation.

Within the tombs were a number of mummies and although the remains have since deteriorated, the stone funeral masks are still intact – allowing the team to see what each person may have once looked like. 

The excavation is being led by the University of Santo Domingo, which has been working at the site for nearly a decade.

This 2,000-year-old mummy was buried with a golden tongue, likely to help the deceased speak in the afterlife.
A female mummy covered with a death mask from Alexandria, Egypt.

The team had previously uncovered several coins inside the Temple of Taposiris Magna etched with the face of Queen Cleopatra VII, which suggests she ruled when many of the individuals were laid to rest in their rock-cut tombs.

Additionally, pieces of statues and temple grounds reveal King Ptolemy IV built this spectacular temple.

Ptolemy IV Philopator reigned over Egypt from 221 to 204BC and due to his interest in lavish celebrations and ceremonies, the decline of the Ptolemaic dynasty is usually traced to him.

The other burials were not as preserved, but Dr. Kathleen Martinez, who is leading the dig, uncovered a number of luxurious trinkets and the statues over the tombs are intact – allowing experts to see who the people were

The skeleton with the gold tongue was found to be well-preserved, as its skull and most of its structure is still intact. Archaeologists dug it out of the rock-cut tomb and were met with the still shining gold object inside of the skeleton’s mouth.

They speculate that the tongue was removed by embalmers, but the gold tongue was put in its place during a funeral ritual. The hope is that this individual would have the ability to speak to the god of the dead, Osiris, upon arriving in the afterlife.

Kathleen Martinez, who is leading the dig, believes the site was strongly associated with the myth of Isis and Osiris – a myth that Cleopatra often tried to imitate during her life

Osiris is said to rule over the underworld and would judge the spirits of those who had died. And by giving the person who died some 2,000 years ago a tongue, may have allowed them to convince Orisis to show mercy on their spirit.

The other burials were not as preserved, but Dr. Kathleen Martinez, who is leading the dig, uncovered a number of luxurious trinkets and the statues over the tombs are intact – allowing experts to see who the people were.

One was found with remains of ‘gilding and bearing gilded decorations showing the god Osiris.’

Another was adorned with a stunning crown when they were laid to rest, which is decorated with horns, and a snake on the forehead that is most likely a cobra.

An additional symbol, depicting the god Horus, was found on the chest of one of the mummies. The symbol was incorporated in a decoration that represented a wide necklace from which a head of a falcon was hanging.

Dr. Khaled Abo El Hamd, the Director-General of The Alexandria Antiquities, said in a statement that ‘during this season the mission discovered a number of archaeological discoveries, the most important of which is a funeral mask for a woman, eight golden flakes representing the leaves of a golden wreath, and eight masks of marble dating back to the Greek and Roman eras.’

The Egyptian official also added that these masks ‘show high craftsmanship in sculpture and depiction of the features of its owners.’

Ancient China: Lost City With Pyramid and Human Sacrifices Is Rewriting History

Ancient China: Lost City With Pyramid and Human Sacrifices Is Rewriting History

Apparently, some archaeologists have uncovered the ruins of a lost city in China that were around for more than 3,000 years ago. On a hill above China’s Tuwei River, researchers found a large stepped pyramid that once served as a palace center, along with defensive stone walls, tool-making rubble, and many pits filled with sacrificial human skulls.

According to archaeologists, Bronze Age discoveries contradict our interpretation of early Chinese culture and occupation, indicating the loess highlands was home to a complex society long before the traditionally assumed ‘centers’ emerged in the Central Plains.

The ancient city dubbed Shimao was home to a pyramid that stood at least 230 feet tall (70 meters) and was guarded by a huge inner and outer wall.

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a lost city in China that thrived more than 4,000 years ago. The pyramid was build out of a loess hill, with 11 massive steps tapering as they ascend, as shown above

Thousands of years ago when it flourished, from about 2300 BC to 1800 BC, the city spanned about 988 acres.

The pyramid was build-out of a loess hill, with 11 massive steps tapering as they ascend, the researchers write in a paper published in the journal Antiquity.

Beyond the entrance, they found a ‘large open plaza where rituals and political gatherings may have been held.’

According to the researchers, palaces were built atop the huge pyramid out of rammed earth with wooden pillars and roofing tiles.

The ancient city dubbed Shimao was home to a pyramid that stood at least 230 feet tall (70 meters), and was guarded by a huge inner and outer wall. Thousands of years ago when it flourished, from about 2300 BC to 1800 BC, the city spanned about 988 acres
On a ridge above China’s Tuwei River, the researcher found a massive stepped pyramid that once served as a palace center, along with defensive stone walls, tool-making debris, and a pit filled with sacrificial human skulls

It’s thought that the ruling elites lived atop the pyramid complex, which was likely also the site of artisanal or industrial craft production.

Eyes and anthropomorphic stone faces were found carved into the façade of the pyramid.

‘With its imposing height of at least 70 m, the pyramid could be seen from everywhere within the settlement, from the suburbs and even the rural fringes.

‘Thus it could well have provided a constant and overwhelming reminder to the Shimao population of the power of the ruling elites residing atop it – a concrete example of the ‘social pyramid.’

Ancient China: Lost City With Pyramid and Human Sacrifices Is Rewriting History
It’s thought that the ruling elites lived atop the pyramid complex, which was likely also the site of artisanal or industrial craft production

Researchers say mass sacrifices were also commonplace at Shimao, with six pits containing decapitated human heads discovered at the site on the outer rampart alone.

Human remains and jade objects associated with sacrifice were found at other Shimao monuments, as well.

‘The jade objects and human sacrifice may have imbued the very walls of Shimao with ritual and religious potency, amplifying its significance as a monumental center, enhancing the protective efficacy of the walls and making this a place of power in every sense,’ the authors wrote.

Beyond the entrance, they found a ‘large open plaza where rituals and political gatherings may have been held.’ According to the researchers, palaces were built atop the huge pyramid out of rammed earth with wooden pillars and roofing tiles

Notably, the researchers say the discoveries are indicative of Shimao’s status as a carefully constructed civilization.

‘This research reveals that by 2000 BC, the loess highland was home to a complex society representing the political and economic heartland,’ the authors wrote.

‘Significantly, it was found that Later Bronze Age core symbols associated with Central plains civilization were, in fact, created much earlier at Shimao.’

The Bronze Age discoveries challenge our understanding of early Chinese civilization and settlement, suggesting the loess highland was home to a complex society long before the traditionally assumed ‘centers’ emerged in the Central Plains

Geologists Map Secret Tunnel And Chamber Found Beneath Aztec Pyramid

Geologists Map Secret Tunnel And Chamber Found Beneath Aztec Pyramid

“Teotihuacan, translated from the Aztec language as “birthplace of the gods,” or “a place where gods were born,” was a very important religious and cultural center during the Aztec empire.

Less than a decade ago, archaeologists uncovered an almost 60-foot Vertical shaft under the Avenue of the Dead.

Excavation of the tunnels beneath the Avenue was not possible, but in 2017 a team of geologists used electrical resistivity mapping to map the underground beneath the Avenue of the Dead.

Panoramic view from the summit of the Pyramid of the Moon, with the “Avenue of the Dead”, in Teotihuacan.

This archaeological site in modern-day Mexico is famous for its broad central “Avenue of the Dead,” surrounded by a dozen pyramids and platforms. The 150 feet high Pyramid of the Moon was built in successive phases and construction completed between 200 and 250 CE. The nearby Pyramid of the Sun is even higher at 216 feet.

Excavation revealed a system of tunnels and chambers. Human remains and diverse objects made from green obsidian, a type of volcanic rock used in religious rituals, were recovered.

A worker removes dirt from a tunnel discovered under the Pyramid of the Plumed Serpent. So far, 70,000 objects of interest have been found there.

The extent of this tunnel-system remains uncertain to this day. Archaeologists suspected that the tunnels follow the pattern of the streets and pyramids on the surface.

As excavation of the complete site was not possible, in 2017 a team of geologists used electrical resistivity imaging to map the underground beneath the Avenue of the Dead.

Electrical resistivity imaging is a geophysical technique used also on other archaeological sites to map the composition of the underground, revealing large subterranean cavities or the presence of groundwater.

The researchers discovered a tunnel at a depth of 26 feet, that starting from the center of the avenue runs to 49 feet in diameter large cavity hidden beneath the Pyramid of the Moon.

Electrical resistivity data visualization under the Pyramid of the Moon.

The age and the use of this network of tunnels and chambers remain uncertain. The walls of the excavated tunnels were covered with pyrite powder.

Visitors would see the grains of this yellow mineral glitter in the light of torches, an effect resembling the stars of the celestial sphere. It was suggested that the tunnel-system acted as a symbolic gateway, connecting the sky with the underworld, and played an important role in religious rites.

The origin of the tunnel-system – and the city – are still being studied.  Centuries later, the Aztecs built some towns on the site of the ancient city, but it’s not yet clear if they used the preexisting tunnel-system.

Around 300 CE, the tunnels appear to have been sealed off and nobody knows why or what the chamber may hide.

The Rome of America: What Lies Under Teotihuacan? – The Real City of the Gods

The Rome of America: What Lies Under Teotihuacan? – The Real City of the Gods

It was one of the first large cities in the Western Hemisphere, the Huge. And its origins are a mystery.  About a thousand years before the gradual arrival in central Mexico of the Nahuatl-speaking Aztec, it was built by hand. But it was the Aztec, descending on the abandoned site, no doubt falling awestruck by what they saw, who gave its current name: Teotihuacan.

According to George Cowgill, an archaeologist at Arizona State University and a National Geographic Society grantee—Teotihuacan, a famous archaeological site less than 30 miles (50 kilometres) from Mexico City, Teotihuacan reached its zenith about 100 B.C. And A.D. 650.

It covered 8 square miles (21 square kilometres) and supported a population of a hundred thousand.

“It was the largest city anywhere in the Western Hemisphere before the 1400s,” Cowgill says. “It had thousands of residential compounds and scores of pyramid-temples … comparable to the largest pyramids of Egypt.”

Oddly, Teotihuacan, which contains a massive central road (the Street of the Dead) and buildings including the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Moon, has no military structures—though experts say the military and cultural wake of Teotihuacan was heavily felt throughout the region.

Who Built It?

Cowgill says the site’s visible surface remains have all been mapped in detail. But only some portions have been excavated.

Scholars once pointed to the Toltec culture. Others note that the Toltec peaked far later than Teotihuacan’s zenith, undermining that theory. Some scholars say the Totonac culture was responsible.

No matter its principal builders, evidence shows that Teotihuacan hosted a patchwork of cultures including the Maya, Mixtec, and Zapotec.

One theory says an erupting volcano forced a wave of immigrants into the Teotihuacan valley and that those refugees either built or bolstered the city.

The main excavations, performed by Professors Saburo Sugiyama of Aichi Prefectural University in Japan and Rubén Cabrera, a Mexican archaeologist, have been at the Pyramid of the Moon.

It was there, beneath layers of dirt and stone, that researchers realized the awe-inspiring craftsmanship of Teotihuacan’s architects was matched by a cultural penchant for brutality and human and animal sacrifice.

Inside the temple, researchers found buried animals and bodies, with heads that had been lobbed off, all thought to be offerings to gods or sanctification for successive layers of the pyramid as it was built.

Since 2003, archaeologist Sergio Gomez has been working to access new parts of the complex and has only recently reached the end of a tunnel that could hold a king’s tomb.

It’s unclear why Teotihuacan collapsed; one theory is that poorer classes carried out an internal uprising against the elite.

For Cowgill, who says more studies are needed to understand the lives of the poorer classes that inhabited Teotihuacan, the mystery lies not as much in who built the city or in why it fell.

“Rather than asking why Teotihuacan collapsed, it is more interesting to ask why it lasted so long,” he says. “What were the social, political, and religious practices that provided such stability?”

Megalithic stone blocks scattered in the vicinity of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents at Teotihuacan.
Megalithic stone head from the earlier layer of construction.
Megalithic stone blocks scattered in the vicinity of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents at Teotihuacan.
Megalithic stone blocks scattered in the vicinity of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents at Teotihuacan.

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