Home History Researchers find liquid mercury under the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl in Teotihuacan

Researchers find liquid mercury under the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl in Teotihuacan

Sunset Teotihuacan

Large quantities of mercury found under ruins of Ancient Teotihuacan.

Mexican archaeologist Sergio Gómez and his team have discovered liquid mercury at the end of the tunnel below the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent, the third largest pyramid of Teotihuacan.

As you enter the tunnel of the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl in Teotihuacan, the temperature drops as you descend through the tunnel, the moisture is notable in the inside and the wooden floor makes it possible to walk through the muddy ground. According to Mexican archaeologist Sergio Gómez, the builders wanted to recreate the outside world so they dug until they came in contact with water, mimicking the rivers of the outside.

Sunset-Teotihuacan - Researchers find liquid mercury under the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl in Teotihuacan
A view of Teotihuacan. Image Credit: Shutterstock.

In the vicinity of the entrance, a mysteriously looking “fireplace” connects with the outside. Archaeologists speculate that this fireplace could have been used as some sort of observatory two millennia ago. The tunnel was discovered by chance when in 2003, the entire place was flooded during restoration works, allowing archaeologists to discover the mystical tunnel. GPR and laser testing gave the researchers an idea of the entire structure. A small robot was introduced to explore the cracks and provide further information to researchers. Similar exploration with the use of robots was done in Egypt, though on a much smaller scale.

The goal of the exploration of the tunnel was to understand what the ancient builders wanted to hide so badly with walls up to 25 tons of Earth and rock. According to archaeologists, the ancient builders had opted the tunnel once in the past, probably to place something inside. Since then, the tunnel remained sealed for almost 2000 years. No one had entered or seen the interior of the tunnel.

The tunnel’s ceiling was very interesting as it had traces of metal powder that reflects light in a curious patter, almost as if mimicking the night sky. In ancient times, when entering the tunnel with torches, the metal dust shined just like the stars. Researchers believe that these traces are pyrite or magnetite remains elements not found in the region of Teotihuacan. These metals were brought from somewhere else to paint the ceiling of the tunnel.

150 meters below the temple of the Feathered Serpent, researchers discovered 50,000 mysterious objects, ranging from animal bones, batons to metal spheres. The descent through the tunnel resembles the entrance to a mine, but the surrounding objects and mysterious ceiling resemble the journey to the underworld, in an enigmatic city that flourished between II and V century AD, 50 kilometers northeast of Mexico City.

Mexican archaeologist Sergio Gomez and his team, looking for a royal tomb in the deep, dark tunnel beneath the pyramid built before the Aztec empire discovered a clue that would bring him closer to their goal: discovering liquid mercury. During their search, the team led by Gomez discovered a large amount of silvered metal at the end of the sacred tunnel that remained sealed for 1800 years.

Many researchers firmly believe that the toxic element could be a clue that will provide more insight about the tomb of the first ruler of Teotihuacan, home to a mysterious ancient civilization that predates the Aztecs, which still remains a mystery as researchers do not have a name for them.

Speculations regarding traces of mercury have been countless. Gomez believes that the metal could have been used to represent a river or lake of the underworld, even though ancient astronaut theorists suggest that there could have been a more “technological use” to mercury.

Traces of mercury have been previously found in small amounts in a couple of Maya sites farther south, but it has never been found in Teotihuacan until now.
Mercury is an element very difficult to extract, appreciated for its refracting properties, it is used numerous appliances today. Mercury was uncommon in ancient Mexico and some researchers believe that its features could have given supernatural features to its rulers.

What use could the ancient inhabitants of Teotihuacan have for Mercury and Mica?

Mercury is a heavy, silvery-white metal. As compared to other metals, it is a poor conductor of heat, but a fair conductor of electricity. Mica is an excellent conductor of electricity. Mercury is the only elemental metal known to melt at a generally cold temperature.

Featured image credit Shutterstock