Ancient Temple Discovered Within Mexican Pyramid After Earthquake Damage

The temple dedicated to the rain god Tlaloc and located within the Teopanzolco pyramid in Cuernavaca Morelos state belonged to the region's Tlahuica culture

Ancient Temple Discovered Within Mexican Pyramid After Earthquake Damage

A 7.1-magnitude quake rocked Central Mexico for 20 long seconds on September 19, 2017.

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

INAH Morelos director Isabel Campos Goenaga explained that the discovery of the substructure was made while carrying out exploratory drilling of the pyramid to determine its structural integrity after it was damaged in the September 19 natural disaster. However, the newly-discovered temple is believed to date to around 1150, older than the famous Templo Mayor, which belongs to the Late Postclassic period (1200 to 1521 AD).

'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. After an quake took place on September 19, 2017, the pyramid was damaged and a substructure inside was revealed.

The temple is much older than the pyramid it was found inside.

The Aztec temple is dedicated to Tlaloc, an Aztec rain god.

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Barbara Koniecza, an archaeologist, said that the temple discovery changes the chronology of the Teopanzolco pyramid.

Scientists from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) were examining the Teopanzolco pyramid for structural damage with a radar when they discovered the 6m x 3.9m temple. The archaeologist said that the temple inspired the construction of the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City.

"The pyramid suffered considerable rearrangement of the core of its structure", Ms Koniecza said.

The archaeologists also recovered ceramic artifacts and a censer featuring Tlahuica motifs as well as a significant amount of charcoal that could have been left over from either rituals carried out at the temple or from a disaster.

"The floor of both shrines sank and bent, which also put their stability in danger", Koniecza said. Huitzilopochtli was the Aztec god of the sun and war.

The Teopanzolco pyramid platform is in the city of Cuernavaca, just south of Mexico City.

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