Quake damage reveals older structure inside Mexico pyramid

A team works on the top of the Teopanzolco pyramid in Morelos State Mexico on Wednesday. Damage caused by a 2017 earthquake revealed a substructure inside then pyramid

Earthquake reveals 1,000-year-old Aztec temple

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 internal temple that we found in that sense is the oldest at the pyramid of Teopanzolco".

Archaeologists were using the radar to check for any structural damage to the pyramid in Cuernavaca after the devastating quake in September. Due to modern growth, the site lies within the city of Cuernavaca today.

More than 200 people were killed in Mexico City and many people were trapped under rubble when buildings were toppled. On September 19, the area was struck by a 7.1 magnitude natural disaster that killed more than 200 people and devastated the region's infrastructure. While it was not unusual for the Tlahuica people, who built this complex, to construct new structures on top of others, the discovery was uncertainly not expected.

To build temples on top of existing ones was a custom of the Mesoamerican people, she added.

The temple was found inside a pyramid and will likely change the chronology of the ancient site.

'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.

"Despite what the quake meant, we have to be grateful that this natural phenomenon revealed this important structure, which changes the dating of this archaeological site", Goenaga said.

An archaeologist from the INAH Morelos Centre said it was common for pre-Hispanic cultures to build one temple over another. The rest of the structures are dated to the late post-classic period around 1200-1521 AD.

To their surprise, the radar images and restoration work revealed the presence of long-lost twin temples - one dedicated to Tláloc, the supreme god of rain and Earthly fertility, and another dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the god of war and Sun.

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.

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