Mexico is full of incredible archaeological finds that offer a glimpse into its rich pre-Columbian history. One of the most impressive structures, the Pyramid of the Sun, is full of new surprises. As the largest building in Teotihuacan, archaeologists are constantly examining the structure, which was built around AD 100. Although few artifacts have been found at the site, researchers from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) made a surprising discovery in 2011.
A 380-foot tunnel dug by archaeologists in the 1930s allowed the group to access the bedrock plain. There, they discovered a rare treasure. Among them were pottery shards, animal bones, pieces of obsidian, three human snake figurines and a stunning snake mask. The green mask is particularly interesting because, at the time of its discovery, it was the only mask of its kind found in a ritual context in Teotihuacan.
These offerings are believed to have been left as part of a ritual marking the beginning of the pyramid's construction, hence their location on the lower level. The mask itself is very realistic, which has led to the theory that it is actually a portrait. That would be incredible as archaeologists have little information about the people who built Teotihuacan. There are also conflicting theories as to the exact use of the pyramid. The title isn't original either.
In fact, it was the Aztecs who visited Teotihuacan centuries after its abandonment and called it the Pyramid of the Sun. The original name of the third largest pyramid in the world is unknown. Teotihuacan was a thriving city that was once called the City of the Gods. At its peak it was called home to 200,000 people. Yet researchers have little to no idea who these dominant people were or why they disappeared without a trace.
With so much information to disclose, it's no surprise that INAH continues to do research in this area. In fact, an underground tunnel was recently found beneath the nearby Pyramid of the Moon. Using electrical resistance technology, they were able to map the tunnel without breaking up the ground.
An underground chamber, followed by a 49-foot diameter chamber, could hold even more treasure. We hope these combined finds will shed more light on this great civilisation and tell more about its demise. "These great complexes of offerings form the sacred heart of the city of Teotihuacan, the reason everyone considered it the Mecca of civilisation," said Veronica Ortega, director of the Comprehensive Moon Square Conservation Project. "What is found within them will help unravel the connection of this ancient metropolis to other regions of Mesoamerica."