A sacred tunnel discovered in the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacán is filled with thousands of ritual objects and may lead to royal tombs, the lead Mexican archaeologist on the project said on Wednesday.
The entrance to the 1,800-year-old tunnel was first discovered in 2003, and its contents came to light thanks to excavations by remote-control robots and then human researchers, archeologist Sergio Gómez told reporters.
The site is located about 30 miles (50 km) northeast of Mexico City. The ruins have long been shrouded in mystery because its inhabitants did not leave behind written records.
The artifacts found inside the tunnel, located below the Temple of Quetzalcóatl, include finely carved stone sculptures, jewelry and shells.
Around 50,000 objects, 4,000 made of wood as well as scores of obsidian blades and arrowheads, provide clues into how the city’s priests and rulers conceived the underworld.
“Due to the magnitude of the offerings that we’ve found, it can’t be in any other place,” said Gómez, who works for Mexico’s National Institute of History and Anthropology referring to the possibility of finding royal tombs.
“We’ve been able to confirm all of the hypotheses we’ve made from the beginning,” he added, saying ongoing excavations could yield more major discoveries next year.
One of Mexico’s most-visited ancient sites, Teotihuacán is home to massive pyramids, temples and elite residences including many adorned with colorful murals.
The city reached its peak between 100 B.C. and 650 B.C. with a population of 200,000, growing rich from a trade in obsidian that in pre-Colombian times was used to make knives and other weapons.
BY LIZBETH DIAZ
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