History : Apr-May 2015
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 5 HÉCTORMONTAÑO/INAH had apparently been closed by the Teotihuacan people about 1,800 years ago. Since that discovery, tons of stone and gravel have been removed using specially de- signed robots to lead the way into the tunnels. All these ef- forts have led the archaeolo- gists to the threshold of three chambers. Along the way they’ve found an astonish- ing amount of offerings, from small statues to oilcloth balls and jade and pyrite disks. According to Sergio Gómez B ack in 2003, a heavy rainfall literally opened the way to an amazing find. The ground in front of the Temple of the Plumed Serpent, in Teotihuacan (Mexico), gave way, leaving a 32-inch gaping hole. When the archaeologists of the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History investigated this cavity they found that it was 60 feet deep, leading to a 335-foot tunnel that went underneath the temple. It The Find Under the Plumed Serpent Archaeologists working in the tunnel under the Teotihuacan temple have found three chambers full of offerings. PRE-COLUMBIAN AMERICA Chávez, the director of the excavation, it is very proba- ble that this tunnel symbol- ized the entry into the un- derworld and that the three unopened chambers con- tain the tombs of the Teo- tihuacan elite class. These last steps will not prove to be easy ones: The final part of the tunnel will have to be explored manually, since the intense humidity of this area has made it nearly impossi- ble for the robots to keep on leading the way. HÉCTORMONTAÑO/INAH THE VARIETY of the offerings unearthed in the tunnel beneath the temple has surprised the archaeologists working at the dig. Among the many pieces found are these anthropomorphic sculptures chiseled out of green stone (above), as well as beads, hair, pieces of jade, the fur and bones of big cats, and even the exoskeletons of beetles. COMPUTER-GENERATED IMAGE showing the Temple of the Plumed Serpent and the long tunnel where the offerings were found.