Secret Tunnel Discovered Beneath the Ancient Temple of the Moon

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A secret passageway discovered near the Pyramid of the Moon in the ancient city of Teotihuacan may have been a way for the people there to emulate the underworld, archaeologists said.

Scans of what appears to be a hidden underground tunnel show that the cavity extends from the center of the Plaza of the Moon to the Pyramid of the Moon, reported archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

The finding confirms that the ancient people of Teotihuacan dug tunnels under their monuments, possibly to emulate the underworld — a place where life, plants and food were thought to be created, said archaeologist Verónica Ortega, director of the Integral Conservation Project of the Plaza de la Luna. [In Photos: Enormous Ancient Mexican Temple]

The Pyramid of the Moon was built in seven different stages, from 100 B.C. to A.D. 450, the researchers said. It began as a small platform and eventually grew into a 150-foot-tall (46 meters) pyramid that held tombs filled with human and animal sacrifices, Live Science previously reported.

Researchers found the tunnel in early June by using an electrical tomography scan, the INAH reported. To implement the scan, the researchers injected electric current into the subsoil and measured the resistance of the different materials found there. Then, they used the resulting data to create preliminary 2D and 3D models.

By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer