(Image: National Geographic Creative)
Archaeologists have found a secret tunnel hidden beneath the Pyramid of the Moon in Mexico’s ancient Teotihuacan ruins .
Advanced scanning technology revealed the secret tunnel, which is buried about 30 feet (9 meters) below the front of the pyramid. It leads from to the Plaza de la Luna central square in the ruined city. The square was believed to be used for rituals and human sacrifices, sometimes in front of up to 100,000 people.
Experts believed the tunnel was used to simulate the effect of going into the underworld – for those who were designated to die. It may even have been filled with offerings to the gods.
“The finding confirms that Teotihuacans reproduced the same pattern of tunnels associated with their great monuments, whose function had to be the emulation of the underworld,” explained archaeologist Verónica Ortega, director of the Integral Conservation Project of the Plaza de la Luna.
Although the experts believe this is a simulation of the passage to the underworld, several internet conspiracy theorists have taken the concept further.
YouTube channel Secureteam posted a video analysing the discovery and stated that it was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
“There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that there are miles and miles, possibly stretching across continents and the entire world,” explains the video .
(Image: Journal of Anthropological Archaeology)
“These tunnelling systems and massive underground cities are said to have once been inhabited by men, animals, families and were basically thriving metropolises,” narrates the video, which has racked up nearly a quarter of a million views.
Despite these claims, the new passageway is a big find for the archaeological community. The Temple of the Moon is the second-largest temple in Teotihuacan (after the Temple of the Sun) and it suggests there might be more undiscovered parts of it.
The discovery was made through a method known as electrical resistivity tomography, which sends scans down through the ground and creates images of what’s beneath the surface.
This isn’t the first secret tunnel to be found at Teotihuacan, which was built some time between the first and 7th century. Scientists found a 340 foot (103 metre) long one under the Temple of the Plumed Serpent and have actually ventured down into it. They found seeds, pottery and the remains of animal bones.
In ancient times Teotihuacan become one of the largest ancient settlements in the Americas with at least 25,000 inhabitants. Built by a pre-Columbian civilisation it was eventually occupied by the Aztecs.
Despite extensive study of the area, archaeologists have never been able to find the remains of any of the city’s rulers. Such a finding would – like the Pharaoh’s of Egypt – give us a much better understanding of the social structure of the time.
For now the team from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History will conduct further studies on the tunnel and decide the best way to excavate it.