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Archaeologist discovers tunnel to the “underworld” in Teotihuacan
An archaeologist working the site found a 3-foot-wide sinkhole after a heavy downpour and things only got more interesting from there.
Elijah Chan
08.09.22

What if someone dug a tunnel to the “underworld”?

It started with heavy rain.

A heavy rainstorm swept through the magnificent and ancient city of Teotihuacan one day in the fall of 2003.

As the water turned dirt into mud, and mud into sludge, the already mysterious city revealed one of her secrets.

YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV

One of the archaeologists working on the site, Sergio Gomez, found the next morning that there was a three-foot wide sinkhole.

The sinkhole lead to a sealed tunnel under one of the temples. The tunnel runs through one of the ancient city’s most prominent structures.

The Temple of the Plumed Serpent.

It is only one of the three mega structures which also include the 200-foot Pyramid of the Sun and the smaller Pyramid of the Moon.

YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV

Older than the Aztecs?

The metropolis predates the Aztecs and was believed to have been settled as early as 400 BCE.

The city is oriented in a north-south axis with a wide boulevard, the Avenue of the Dead, running down the middle.

YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV

Archaeologists can only guess why the layout is such. Much of the city remains a mystery, even its name – “the place where men become gods”.

Another secret was revealed, however.

A team from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History was excavating the large central square next to the Pyramid of the Moon when they discovered a hollow space underground.

YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV

Knowing that the Temple of the Plumed Serpent possesses a similar tunnel, they hypothesized that the cavity is man-made as well.

But archaeologists can’t just dig.

Much like the encounter in the Temple of the Plumed Serpent, archaeologists should first have a sound hypothesis and permits in order to see what’s underneath the city.

YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV

Instead, the team used a radar that can penetrate the ground so they could map the structures below the city.

They discovered that the tunnel is long, spanning the distance between the center of the square to the pyramid.

A map of the underworld?

Archaeologists believe that it’s a representation of the underworld.

“The finding confirms that Teotihuacans reproduced the same pattern of tunnels associated with their great monuments, whose function had to be the emulation of the underworld,” said archaeologist Verónica Ortega, who leads the conservation project of the Plaza de la Luna, the square near the pyramid.

Wikicommons
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Wikicommons

No one has accessed the tunnels yet but it is mapped to be 10-meters deep underground.

More to be found.

They believe that there are artifacts under the square but further research must be done first.

Wikicommons
Source:
Wikicommons

Ortega pointed out that the tunnel might have been used purely for rituals, especially for ceremonies around agricultural cycles.

The Pyramid of the Moon is known for human sacrifices, given the human remains discovered on the site.

Teotihuacan was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1987.

The city was first excavated in 1884.

But the first systematic mapping of the city was done only during the 1960s.

YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - INAH TV

Not much is known about the settlers of Teotihuacan and the purpose of the city’s features are largely hypothetical.

Maybe, as more research shed light on the city’s history, we’ll finally uncover the mystery of the City of the Gods.

Watch how archaeologists found the Teotihuacan “underworld” in the video below!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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