Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Quake uncovers ancient temple hidden in Mexican pyramid

Quake uncovers ancient temple hidden in Mexican pyramid

The temple, dedicated to a deity called Tlaloc and located within the Teopanzolco pyramid in Cuernavaca, Morelos state, belonged to the region's Tiahuica culture.

The temple was found inside a pyramid and will likely change the chronology of the ancient site.

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient temple, hidden inside an Aztec-era pyramid in Mexico that was damaged during last September's 7.1-magnitude natural disaster.

To assess the damage, a team from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) built two shafts: One in the Temple of Tlaloc, the god of rain, and another between this temple and the Temple of Huitzilopochtli, the god of war.

'There was no news, until now, of the existence of a substructure within the pyramidal structure, ' said INAH Director Isabel Campos Goenaga at a press conference.

The substructure of the older pyramid reportedly lies below this temple.

The magnitude 7.1 quake on September 19 caused parts of the pyramid to sink or lean. However, since it appears that these two temples were built on top of at a later date, it suggests that this city was of significance long before this time period.

Ms Koniecza says it was not unusual for the Tlahuica to build on top of older structures.

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"In spite of what the quake meant, it is necessary to be thankful that ... this natural phenomenon [revealed] this important structure", Goenaga added.

An archaeologist from the INAH Morelos Centre said it was common for pre-Hispanic cultures to build one temple over another.

Barbara Koniecza, of the INAH, said: "The pyramid suffered considerable rearrangement of the core of its structure". The rest of the structures are dated to the late post-classic period around 1200-1521 AD.

In working to find firm terrain, Ms Konieczna and her fellow archaeologists discovered the hidden temple.

Archaeologists at work at the pyramid in Morelos.

In addition, they claim that the structures built at Teopanzolco served as a source of inspiration for the inhabitants of Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital that became Mexico City.

Fragments found inside the pyramid.

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