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Archaeologists reveal 1.800-year-old secrets of the Temple of the Feathered Serpent
A digital image and a laser scan of a tunnel at the Temple of the Feathered Serpent (Serpiente Emplumada) in the Teotihuacan complex in Mexico City. Archaeologist Sergio Gomez announced in a press conference in Mexico City on October 29, 2014 that new discoveries were made recently at the temple. The discovered offering is located at 103 metres from the entrance of the temple and contains thousands of items including 4 stone sculptures and jade ornaments. AFP PHOTO/INAH.

Translated by: Cristina Perez Ayala

MEXICO CITY.- With the announcement that the most recent explorations of the Tlalocan Project have led to the discovery of the threshold of three chambers located under the Temple of the Feathered Serpent in Teotihuacan, Teresa Franco, director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), expressed that this and other investigations under development by the institution create the unique opportunity to understand in depth the cultures in Mesoamerica and Aridoamerica.

The Tlalocan Project: A Path Under the Earth and the incentives of other spaces and structures in Teotihuacan have become the evidence of systematic studies that have been made in these archaeological zones, enabling researchers to analyze data, revise hypothesis and even calculate the chronology of a metropolis that was developed during eight centuries.

Teresa Franco added that these labors have been multidisciplinary, which has allowed the use of advanced technology, such as the georadar, the laser scanner and a couple of robots developed by graduates from the National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico. The information derived from the use of these tools has aided investigators to excavate all the way to the last part of a tunnel, which was closed off 800 thousand years ago by the people in Teotihuacan.

It was before the media that the recently discovered threshold that held the varied offerings was announced, this being the richest one found up to date and which stands guard to three chambers.

Archaeologist Sergio Gomez Chavez did a brief recount of all the labors that began 11 years ago with a fortuitous event, when one October morning the intense rain had left open an 83 centimeter [32.67 inch] cavity in front of the Citadel’s Duplex Building.

It was in truth a 15 meter [49.21 feet] deep shaft that lead to a 120 meter [393.70 feet] tunnel, that would lead researchers right underneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. Archaeologists at INAH are currently in meter 103 [337.92 feet], where they discovered the generous offer.

This offering, called offering number 48, is the announcement that something truly important lies inside the three great chambers it precedes, maybe even the remains of characters linked to the power structure of Teotihuacan, added Sergio Gomez Chavez.

The offering is composed of four anthropomorphic green stone statues, dozens of great shells from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, thousands of beads and diverse materials, jade from Guatemala, rubber balls, the remains of hair and bones of great felines, beetle skeletons, mineral discs and a wooden box containing dozens of skillfully labored shells.

“As we advanced in our exploration of the threshold, the offerings kept being more numerous, rich and varied” he explained. Additionally, in the last parts of the tunnel we had already recovered more tan four thousand wooden objects in perfect state of conservation, more than 15 thousand different plant seeds and possibly even human remains which will be subject of analysis”.

It should also be mentioned –he added– that all this ritualistic activity was made between 150 and 200 AD, in the Miccaotli phase, when Teotihuacan was modified in three stages and previous structures were demolished. In the case of the Citadel they have found vestiges of a pyramid built previous to the construction of the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, as well as a Ball Game court 100 meters [feet] from the tunnel’s entry.
“We have all the evidence needed to corroborate that the Citadel was used as a sanctuary to recreate not only the myths of the original creation, but also the political inclinations of the populace at the time. Surely those in power used this space as an attempt to justify their rule”.

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