Sunday, August 23, 2015

Temple of the Feathered Serpent, Teotihuacan

View of the tunnel using a laser scanner. Image: INAH

 A reconstruction of the Ciudadela. The Temple of the Feathered Serpent can be seen at the upper center, with the Adosada directly in front of it.

At a recent INAH press conference on the Tlalocan project, it was announced that a substantial offering and three chambers have been discovered at the far end of a tunnel discovered under the Temple of the Feathered Serpent at Teotihuacan, Mexico. The tunnel had been closed off around 1,800 years ago by the occupants of the city, and was only re-discovered by chance.
Lead archaeologist Sergio Gómez Chávez gave a brief account of the work that began at Teotihuacan 11 years ago.

An extensive offering
It started, he explained, when heavy rains revealed a small cavity, that then became a shaft leading to a tunnel of approximately 120m long under the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. Recently, at 103 feet along the tunnel the archaeologists discovered an abundant offering covering a space of 4m wide by 8m in length. Located at a depth of 18 metres, this offering, known as “number 48″, may well be an announcement that something extremely important lies within the next three chambers, perhaps says Gómez Chávez, the people linked to the power structure of Teotihuacan. 

The offering is composed of four green stone anthropomorphic sculptures, dozens of large snails from the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, thousands of beads made from various materials, imported Guatemalan jade, rubber balls, the bones and fur of big cats, beetle skeletons, pyrite discs, and a wooden box containing worked shells.

“As we continue to explore, the offerings are becoming increasingly numerous, rich and varied,” said Sergio Gómez Chávez.

Apart from the most recent deposit, in the last sections of the tunnel the archaeologists recovered “more than 4,000 objects of wood in a perfect state of conservation,” over 15 thousand seeds of different plant remains and remnants of skin, possibly human, to be submitted for analysis.

The Miccaotli phase
All this ritual activity was carried out between 150-200 AD, in the Miccaotli phase, when Teotihuacan was modified in three stages, and previous structures demolished. At the Citadel remnants of a previous building to the Temple of the Feathered Serpent pyramid were discovered, as well as a  ball game court, 137m in length, and 100m from the entrance of the tunnel.

“We have all the evidence that corroborate that the Citadel was used as a sanctuary to recreate not only the creation myths, but also for political purposes. The powerful people almost certainly used this space to justify their rule” explained Gómez Chávez.

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