Home Headlines Scientists search for “missing pyramid” in Chichén Itzá

Scientists search for “missing pyramid” in Chichén Itzá

by Yucatan Times
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Physicists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and Chicago State University, in the United States, are searching for a pyramid inside the Kukulcán Castle in the archaeological zone of Chichén Itzá, in southern Mexico, using muons, which are sub-particles generated by cosmic rays.

“The purpose is to take an image of the internal density pattern of the substructure, similar to an x-ray since archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) think that underneath they could find a smaller pyramid,” explained Arturo Alejandro Menchaca Rocha, researcher at the UNAM Physics Institute, Monday, March 11.

He explained that, for two years, they have been working on the international project, created by Edmundo García-Solís of Chicago State University, to find out what is underneath the substructure discovered in 1931.

“At the moment, the parts of a detector are being built in the United States, and at the UNAM, the supports to discover the hole,” he explained.

The pioneer of applying the muon method in Mexico admitted that they do not know what they will find when x-raying the Temple of Kukulcán, “but whatever the result is it will be a tremendously valuable discovery.”

The technique was first used in the pyramids of Egypt and now in Mexico, “because few countries in the world have pyramids,” he continued.

Could they find Kukulcán’s tomb?

Menchaca stated that they hope to discover if the tomb of Kukulcán-Quetzalcóatl is inside the pyramid they are looking for, although he said that “that answer will be given by the archaeologists promptly.”

“I have the impression that the Castle was created for ceremonies and sacrifices, but if there is someone buried there, we will know next year,” he said.

Archaeologist Francisco Pérez Ruiz, director of the Program for the Improvement of Archaeological Zones (Promeza), stated that with the project “they may discover a hidden chamber beneath the substructure of the castle, designated in 2007 as one of the new wonders of the world.”

Some researchers believe that the interior of the Maya-Toltec building is similar to the pyramid of ‘The Inscriptions’ of Palenque, “where the tomb of Pakal was found and that inside the Castle they could find the remains of Kukulcán-Quetzalcóatl.”

He said that physicists from Mexico and the United States searched the two chambers of the substructure, where 93 years ago they found an altar with a red jaguar that served as a throne and a Chaac Mool (god of rain in Mayan mythology).

Pérez Ruiz, who has been working as a researcher in Chichén Itzá for 30 years, explained that with the muons “we will know the dimensions of the second substructure, its shape and what it keeps inside.”

Regarding the possibility of finding the tomb of Kukulcán-Quetzalcóatl, Pérez Ruiz assumes that there is a possibility that they will not find one “because the Itzáes had another way of burying their dead.”

“In Chichén Itzá, the inhabitants burned elite figures and put the ashes in small ceramic figures or incense burners,” he concluded. 

TYT Newsroom

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