Lakes of mercury and human sacrifice – after 1,800 years, Teotihuacan reveals its treasures

In 2003, archaeologists discovered a tunnel under the Feathered Serpent Pyramid in the ancient city of Teotihuacan that had been sealed for 1,800 years. Within the tunnel, crystals, crocodile teeth, sculptures, and mercury. Teotihuacan was considered the birthplace of the gods by the Aztecs, and it was seen as a holy site. Initially, a robot was used to search the tunnel when it was found, as it was under a sinkhole. They found that it was as long as a football field. At one end of the tunnel, the passage opened to three chambers, one of which contained “riches worthy of a quest by Indiana Jones.” In one chamber, four greenstone sculptures were found, with two still in their original position. The tunnel is located under one of the most important pyramids in Teotihuacan: the Feathered Serpent Pyramid. This pyramid would have been the site of many rituals, such as sacrifices, and many would have gathered outside of it to observe such scenes. Such scenes would have been used as tools to bring together a city of multiethnic people.

While the tunnel was found back in 2003, the article was written because many of the treasures found in the tunnel just recently came on display. What was found in the tunnel helps illuminate to us today how the ancient cultures of Latin America, and specifically those related to the Aztecs, operated amongst themselves. Teotihuacan was once one of the largest cities in the world, and was considered by the Aztecs to be one of their holiest places. Understanding more about the city allows us to better understand the history and culture of the region. Along with this, the discovery of the tunnel can reveal more about the Feathered Serpent Pyramid, which was a site of massive ethnic cohesion and ancient ritual.


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