The Mask Was Found At The Bottom Of A Pyramid
A 2,000-year-old mask not too dissimilar to the one worn by Jim Carrey in The Mask was found inside an ancient pyramid in Mexico.
The surprising discovery was made by researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) after they made their way inside the Pyramid of the Sun, located in the Mexican city of Teotihuacan and built around 100 CE.
Researchers were able to access the mother-rock level of the pyramid through a 380-foot-long tunnel that had been created by archaeologists in the 1930s. Once there, they discovered a range of treasures including clay pottery, three serpentine human figurines and the eerie green mask.
According to Live Science, the researchers who uncovered the mask in 2011 believe it may have been a portrait, suggesting it was in fact not a magical mask that transforms the wearer, like Carrey, into a cartoonish, manic superhero. Though with only speculation on our side, that’s not to say its makers weren’t hoping for such an outcome.
As the items, which also included animal bones and pieces of obsidian, were found at the lower level of the pyramid, they are thought to have formed offerings to mark the start of construction on the structure.
Perez Cortez, an investigator with the Zacatecas INAH Center, said in a statement: ‘We know [the offerings were] deposited as part of a dedication ceremony.’
The findings came as part of years-long excavation efforts at the Pyramid of the Sun, which is the largest building in Teotihuacan. Archaeologists have created dozens of holes and a number of tunnels in search of offerings and burials such as the ones found at the bottom of the pyramid, with findings also including seven human burials which predate the structure.
The lifelike style of the mask proved a notable find as archaeologists have little knowledge about the people who constructed Teotihuacan. The largest structure received the name The Pyramid of the Sun from the Aztecs, who visited the city centuries after it had been abandoned, though its original name remains unknown.
Teotihuacan is located fewer than 30 miles from Mexico City, and was most successful between 100 B.C. and A.D. 650, according to National Geographic.
George Cowgill, an archaeologist at Arizona State University and a National Geographic Society grantee, explains: ‘It was the largest city anywhere in the Western Hemisphere before the 1400s. It had thousands of residential compounds and scores of pyramid-temples … comparable to the largest pyramids of Egypt.’
Teotihuacan is said to have supported a population of a hundred thousand, though exactly who built the city continues to be debated.
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