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Archaeologists report Kukulkan Pyramid at Chichen Itza built over an underground river
Picture of the Kukulkan Pyramid at Chichen Itza archaeological park, in Yucatan State, Mexico, taken on December 20, 2012. The pyramid of Kukulkan, one of the most majestic buildings of the Mayan culture, is built over a cenote (underground river), a group of researchers of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) reported on August 13, 2105. AFP PHOTO / PEDRO PARDO.

MEXICO CITY.- Researchers from UNAM discovered that underneath the Kukulcan pyramid in Chichen Itza, there is a small body of water “cenote”, which offers the experts new clues about the symbolic value of these ruins for Mayan culture. This body of water has a volume of 25 by 30 meters and a depth of 20 meters under the Kukulcan pyramid.

The discovery of the cenote was made thanks to investigations on practices that the Kukulcan represented for the Mayans before the Spanish epoch.

A group of scientists from the National University of Mexico (UNAM) and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) announced the finding on Thursday, the discovery being attributed to information gathered on the subsoil by new technology developed by the university graduates that used 96 electrodes connected to the perimeter of the pyramid in order to scan the subsoil.

A part of the limestone surrounds the water mass above and below a cavity that could have been small in ancient times, but could have grown by erosion, according to scientists. The pyramid rises in a corner of a subterranean chamber, which helps it be out of the danger of collapsing.

The Mayans knew of the existence of cenotes, underground rivers with small openings in the surface, which most of the times had ceremonial attributes, but this does not explain how the pyramid, also known as the Castle, was constructed.

To archaeologist Guillermo de Anda, expert in submarine archaeology, the answer is simple: this was made knowingly and with symbolic premeditation. “This news presents a great discovery because it confirms many of our hypothesis, that the Mayans wanted to represent their universe with these constructions”, he explained.

The pyramid is erected in an equidistant manner over four cenotes, north, south, east and west, confirmed de Anda. The finding will now be the fifth, the “axis mundi” or center of the world, “the point where the sacred ceiba tree grew and whose roots reached the underworld and it’s branches indicated the four cardinal points”.

But for de Anda, the most transcendent finding will come from knowing if a tunnel connecting the pyramid to the aquatic chamber exists and if there are offerings of any kind inside them.

The team will begin archaeological works now in the second phase of the project, aided by the electrode technology, in order to see the infrastructure of the pyramid, it’s constructive phases, and if there are any tunnels or hidden corridors that connect it with the underground body of water.

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August 15, 2015

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