Thursday, April 25, 2013

snakes -- why did it have to be snakes?

The Temple of the Feathered Serpent at
Teotihuacán is everything an 8-year old boy would expect to find in an archaeological ruin.

Serpents.  Heads of hideous gods.  And hundreds of sacrificed bodies buried in its foundations.

It lacked only one thing.  A burial chamber filled with mountains of gold treasure.  Well, half of that void has now been filled.

In 2003, heavy rains disclosed a tunnel leading under the temple-pyramid.  No one was certain if the opening led to a man-made structure or if it was an opening to one of the caves that caused the builders of the city to choose the site.  (The legend was that the caves were the site of the world's creation.)

We now know the answer.  Archaeologists sent a robot cleverly named Tlaloc II-TC, after the Aztec god of rain, into the hole in the hopes of finding a burial chamber.  They did.  Actually, they discovered a bonanza.  Three burial chambers.

Unfortunately, this is not Hollywood.  There was no great reveal with stage lighting.  The tunnel is still blocked by 100 feet of rubble that will need to be cleared before any further exploration can be conducted.

This is a major discovery.  No one knows much about the society that built
Teotihuacán.  It had been long-abandoned when the Aztec, then a shabby band of wanderers, migrated through the area in the 1300s.  This discovery may help to fill in some of the voids about the burial rituals of the city's rulers.

The last time I was in
Teotihuacán (February of 2011 -- ruins of the day), I was suffering from a bout of norovirus that cut into my time to enjoy the site.  To put it politely, the trip was rushed.

Fortunately, I was able to spend time at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City examining a partial reconstruction of the temple.  But it would be nice to see the real thing up close and personal -- without constantly looking around for the next toilet.

I now have a reason to head over to Mexico City to see the real thing -- and to spend more time in the museum.

As soon as I get my new vehicle.


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