Lost Pyramids of the Aztecs explores the erasure of the Aztecs
The ancient Aztec civilization captured the imagination and intrigue of millions of people across the world. At one point, they were some of the most advanced humans on the planet, leading the way in both science and medicine. They built great cities for hundreds of thousands of people, creating complex irrigation systems not seen in hundreds of years.
But, at the beginning of the 16th century, after the Spanish invaders reached the shores of Central America, the once great civilization fell to its knees and was lost forever.
The ancient city of Teotihuacan has since been excavated and studied by archaeologists, many of whom have traveled from the United States and around the world to find out how the Aztecs once lived and ruled.
A surprising find made under the city’s largest pyramid, the Pyramid of the Sun, was explored in Discovery’s short documentary, “Shocking Artefacts And Human Remains Found In 2000 Year Old Pyramid.”
Here, archaeologists dug up a tunnel in the bedrock, initially believing it to be a natural cave.
Archeology: The Feathered Serpent pyramid has revealed a myriad of human remains
Temple of the Feathered Serpent: some details on the exterior of the pyramid
However, upon further investigation, they struck a dug chamber and, beyond that, the remains of 17 thick man-made walls, built to block access to the tunnel.
At the end of the tunnel, they found an elaborate chamber carved in the shape of a clover.
Now the tunnel is empty, probably emptied of its contents by thieves over the centuries.
But the discovery under the Pyramid of the Sun was only the beginning: in 2003, a tunnel was discovered under the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent.
Then, in 2017, Mexican archaeologist Sergio Gómez discovered another secret tunnel under the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent.
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Ancient tunnel: archaeologist Sergio Gómez discovered a new intact tunnel under the pyramid
This tunnel was left untouched by thieves as Sergio and his team discovered more than 100,000 different objects.
He said: “Extraordinary objects, some of which have never been seen before in any Mexican archaeological exploration.”
Unperturbed for 1,800 years, the objects were found lying exactly where they were first placed as ritual offerings to the gods.
Some of the pieces unearthed included green stone crocodile teeth, eye-shaped crystals and sculptures of jaguars ready to pounce.
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Ancient artifacts: The team found over 100,000 different objects in the tunnel
Human remains: a room was found filled with human remains arranged according to a “symbolic” pattern
Above the complex system of tunnels, in the heart of the pyramid, excavations have revealed a darker secret: the remains of countless humans.
Anthropologist Saburo Sugiyama has examined the myriad of bones unearthed from the ancient city of Teotihuacan.
He said, “Human bones tell us a lot of things: male, female, how many years old they were when they died, how they lived, how they died.
He believes the bones found may be evidence of a gruesome human sacrifice, the biggest clue coming from how the bones were found.
Archaeological finds: some of the most revolutionary finds ever recorded
Archaeologists came across them while digging a tunnel deep inside the body of the pyramid.
Inside the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent, at its center, is a “dark secret”: 20 skeletons, almost entirely intact, neatly arranged in what looks like a “symbolic pattern”.
They were not alone, as in total more than 260 bodies were found built up to the fabric and foundations of the building.
The narrator noted: “The pyramid is a mass grave.
Human bones: only one of the many bones found on the site
The dead and how they were killed can now provide crucial clues about civilization and their way of life.
These will add to the already considerable discoveries made in Teotihuacan, including the existence of a playground near the plaza, where residents are said to have played the Mesoamerican equivalent of racquetball.
And, in another pyramid, many remains of animal sacrifices have been found, including wolves, rattlesnakes, golden eagles, and pumas.