Mexico earthquake unearths ancient temple

2018-07-12 09:45
View of the substructure inside the Teopanzolco pyramid in Cuernavaca, Morelos State, Mexico on July 11, 2018. (RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP)

View of the substructure inside the Teopanzolco pyramid in Cuernavaca, Morelos State, Mexico on July 11, 2018. (RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP)

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A devastating earthquake that struck central Mexico last September gave way to a fascinating discovery: remnants of a rain god temple within an Aztec pyramid.

The temple, dedicated to a deity called Tlaloc and located within the Teopanzolco pyramid in Cuernavaca, Morelos state, belonged to the region's Tlahuica culture.

As a result of the earthquake, "the pyramid suffered considerable rearrangement of the core of its structure", said archaeologist Barbara Koniecza of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

The greatest damage was at the top, where two temples had already been discovered - one dedicated to the Mesoamerican god of the sun and war, Huitzilopochtli, and another to Tlaloc.

"The floor of both shrines sank and bent, which also put their stability in danger," Koniecza said.

When the INAH carried out studies with radar to examine the pyramid's structure, they found traces of the newly discovered Tlaloc temple.

The structure is believed to date back to around the year 1150. Experts say it would have been around six metres long and four metres wide. Ceramic remains and an incense burner belonging to the Tlahuica culture were also found.

Shortly after midday on September 19, 2017, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit central Mexico, killing 369 people, mostly in the capital Mexico City.

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