The Treasures Under the Temple of the Plumed Serpent

By Jesús Aguado

An offering with giant snails, anthropomorphic figures made of green stone, and thousands of necklaces made of various different stones, was found in Teotihuacán, next to the base of the temple of the Serpiente Emplumada—Quetzalcóatl—or Plumed Serpent.

According to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), one morning, after a heavy rain, eleven years ago, a cavity of 83 centimeters appeared in the ground in front of the citadel. The hole was 15 meters deep with a path to a tunnel approximately of 110 meters long ending under the base of the Temple of the Plumed Serpent. The archaeologists of INAH excavated 103 meters from the entrance of the tunnel, where they found an offering that occupies an area eight meters long and four meters wide.

Teresa Franco, general director of the INAH, expressed her optimism, stating “We will find something very important at the end of the tunnel, which shelters three chambers of three meters wide and four meters high.” She believes that what they may find are artifacts linked to the power structures of Teotihuacán.

This tunnel, according to INAH, was closed in the first century after Christ, and later 18 walls were constructed in different locations in the tunnel. The walls are three meters wide and were made with a mix of tepetate and wood and are imprinted with the hands of the workers.

In the offering the archeologists found four anthropomorphic sculptures made of green stone, measuring 65 centimeters. There were also dozens of giant snails from the gulf (one of them measures 55 centimeters). Thousands of bracelets and necklaces of different stones and jade imported from Guatemala, plus rubber balls, bones, and the remains of large felines were also discovered. The archaeologists found skeletons of beetles and a box of wood containing dozens of shells as well.

So far INAH has recovered more than 4,000 objects in a good stage of conservation, 15,000 thousand seeds from different plants, and the remains of human skin. The Department of Public Relations from INAH told Atención that currently all of the recovered objects are receiving special treatment for its conservation, and after all the required studies are conducted, they will decide whether to exhibit them in the museum at the archeological site or return them to the place where they were found.

Tlalocán—path underground—is the name of this INAH project. From 2009 to -2014, more than 14 million pesos have been destined allocated to it. For the investigation, INAH have used robots constructed by former students of the Instituto Politécnico Nacional and geoscaners.


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