A secret tunnel, which is believed to be linked to the underworld, has been discovered under Mexico’s ancient Pyramid of the Moon.
The Pyramid of the Moon is Mexico’s second-largest pyramid, and is thought to have existed prior to 200 AD. It’s located less than 30 miles from Mexico City, in a Mayan city called Teotihuacan, which also holds the Pyramid of the Sun, Mexico’s largest pyramid.
Archaeologists have been working for years to uncover new parts of the city, and have recently discovered the secret tunnel and hidden cavity beneath the Pyramid of the Moon.
The researchers believe the tunnel may represent the ‘underworld’ in the belief system of the 2,000-year-old civilisation who built the city.
The tunnel is thought to have been dedicated to underworld Toltec rituals and sacred flows of water; it’s also believed it may contain strange items such as deformed skulls.
The cavity is eight metres (26 feet) below the pyramid, and 15 metres (49 feet) in diameter, while the tunnel is located towards the south of the Plaza de la Luna – the central square of the ancient complex – and experts believe there could be another entry to the east.
Investigators at the National Institute of Anthropology and History gave details about the discovery in a statement, explaining the investigation is focused on a ritual space linked to the underworld.
Veronica Ortega, director of the Project of Integral Conservation of Plaza de la Luna, said, according to the Daily Mail:
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.
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.
What’s found inside could help to unravel the relationships that this ancient metropolis had with other regions of Mesoamerica.
The Mail also report researchers discovered a chamber on the site last year, the significance of which Dr. Ortega explained at the time:
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.
The discovery of the chamber and tunnel is a result of an initial study carried out around the Pyramid of the Moon in June 2017, in which electrical resistivity was used.
Electric resistivity methods are a form of geophysical surveying, which create an image of what lies beneath the surface by utilising differences in electric potential.
Archaeologists searching other areas of the complex discovered another tunnel under the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent, the third-biggest temple of the ruined city, back in 2003.
Lead archaeologist, Sergio Gómez, spoke to The Guardian about what researchers had hoped to find in the tunnel at the time:
At the beginning of this investigation we thought the tunnel was a metaphoric representation of the underworld, the place of creation and transmission of power, and that we would find a tomb of Teotihuacan’s leaders in this very scared place.
It would have been a transcendent discovery which would help us understand Teotihuacan’s power structure and system of government, but we have almost finished the excavation – and there is no tomb.
We have evidence that something very large and heavy was dragged out of the tunnel at some point. It could have been a tomb, but we just don’t know,
The findings are certainly mysterious!
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.