Archaeologists discover a hidden symbolic code in the Plaza of the Moon at Teotihuacan

Archaeologists discover the map of ‘the universe’ beneath Teotihuacan

While performing excavations at Teotihuacan, archeologists stumbled across a mysterious cosmic scenery created by the inhabitants of ancient Teotihuacan

Researchers came across passages that are believed to mark the center of this space with the directions of the universe.

In this image we see the excavation process carried out just in front of the mighty Pyramid of the Moon. Image: Proyecto Estructura A, Plaza de la Luna, Teotihuacán, INAH
In this image we see the excavation process carried out just in front of the mighty Pyramid of the Moon.
Image: Estructura A, Plaza de la Luna, Teotihuacán, INAH

Established around 100 B.C., and lasting until its fall between the seventh and eighth centuries, Teotihuacan was one of the largest cities in the ancient world, it is one of the most incredible constructions in America, at Teotihuacan we find evidence that the builders had incredible knowledge in Mathematics, Geology, Astronomy, and Engineering. 

When researchers ‘lifted’ the heart of the ‘Plaza de la Luna’ –one of the most important places at Teotihuacan—they discovered something extremely interesting. Mysterious ‘ditches’ decorated with green stone stelae, walkways and over 400 circular holes in the rocks filled with river pebbles. According to researchers, this is a symbolic structure that resembles a lunar landscape full of craters and could correspond to the map of the universe in the eyes of the ancient Teotihuacan.

The newly found aspects of the ancient city are believed to be part of a symbolic ancient code, developed by the ancient inhabitants of Teotihuacan during the early stages of the city.

Researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), have been carrying out excavations at Teotihuacan for over a  year. They highlight the importance of the discovery which provides more information about the mysterious civilization that built this stunning ancient metropolis in the valley of Mexico thousands of years ago.

“We are facing a new navel of the city, facing a new cosmic center. The Plaza of the Moon was not like we see it today. It was full of holes, canals, stelae, buildings were much more remote, and the Pyramid of the Moon was smaller,“ said Ortega in a press release.

The limestone that forms the surface of the Plaza of the Moon was modified, we have discovered over 400 cavities that were used for over five centuries, miniature holes approximately 20-25 centimeters in diameter and with depths of about 30 centimeters covering the plaza, although the holes are more concentrated in certain areas. Many of them had river stones that were brought from elsewhere,” reported Dr. Veronica Cabrera Ortega, director of the research project.

Cavities resembling the lunar surface found just below the surface of Teotihuacan. Credit: INAH

Researchers are trying to understand the origin behind this mystical ritual space which according to reports, has been modified throughout centuries.

“Years ago the archaeologist Otto Schöndube said Structure A had a base that resembled a “quincunx” or “Teotihuacán cross,” which is believed to be associated with a cosmological order, but there were no more further details to understand this. When we discovered these pits and the green stone stelae, we began formulating the idea that indeed this was a space with a symbolic linking of the underworld with the celestial plane,” Verónica Ortega said in the INAH press release.

Archaeologists believe that the green stone pits, as well as another dozen stelae, found earlier in Teotihuacan originate from Puebla located approximately 130 kilometers from the Mexican capital.

Speaking about the steale, Ortega said: “Eventually, the people of Teotihuacán decided to put them in a final place. The stelae were used to sanctify the space or legitimize the power assigned to the deities. Although we do not yet fully understand the context, this speaks to the importance of green stones and their link with water deities, here (the Plaza of the Moon) the greatest sculptures of the goddess of fertility, Chalchiuhtlicue, have been found, and it is likely that worship in this place was closely related to her. There are a lot of holes; it is likely that as part of a symbolic act, ceremony, or ritual, people come to this open space and deposited river pebbles within them, perhaps with an idea to promote fertility.”

Interestingly, researchers came across another extremely important discovery a mere 10 centimeters below the surface of Teotihuacan, when they discovered two channels linked with the main altar of the Plaza of the Moon.

According to archaeologists, these too have a symbolic function rather than being constructed as drainage systems. Both of the channels measure 1.5 and 2 meters in width and start from the northern and southern steps of the altar towards cardinal directions: eventually reaching some 25 meters in length and go as far as 3 meters in depth.

Ortega concluded: “For the first time it is known that the open space is not necessarily void of archaeological evidence. In general, the public spaces of Teotihuacán, La Ciudadela and the plazas of the Sun and Moon pyramids had a symbolism beyond what we see as an architectural or urban project. Perhaps they made such changes to sanctify those spaces. Indeed, there is a whole underworld to know.”

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