Quake damage triggers discovery of temple in Morelos pyramid

Archaeologists work at the archaeological site of Teopanzolco

The quake on September 19, 2017 which caused serious damage to the historical site of Teopanzolco, revealed a temple that dates back to 1150, archaeologists said.

The upper part of the pyramid was heavily damaged during the 2017 quake, so researchers from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) wanted to give the ancient construction a quick check-up, using radar to identify whether its internal structure had been disturbed by the rumbles.

Experts believe the temple dates back to 1150 and belongs to Tlahuica culture.

'There was no news, until now, of the existence of a substructure within the pyramidal structure, ' said INAH Director Isabel Campos Goenaga at a press conference. It was assumed that the site dates back to the Late Postclassic period (1200 to 1521 CE).

The foundations of the pyramid were discovered at the Teopanzolco archaeological site in the state of Morelos during restoration work to fix natural disaster damage.

More than 200 people were killed in Mexico City and many people were trapped under rubble when buildings were toppled.

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The structure, which is dedicated to the rain god Tlaloc, was found by scientists with Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History using radar technology. "We have already detected two construction stages, and where we stand is considered to be built in the oldest phase before the second phase of the Templo Mayor", Ms Konieczna said.

The archaeologists also recovered ceramic artifacts and a censer featuring Tlahuica motifs as well as a significant amount of charcoal that could have been left over from either rituals carried out at the temple or from a disaster.

'It is not that the Mexicas have contributed this architectural style to this region, on the contrary, the Tlahuica constructions inspired them to build the Templo Mayor, ' said Barbara Konieczna, who led the dig.

She said it was common for pre-Hispanic cultures to build one temple over another.

In addition, they claim that the structures built at Teopanzolco served as a source of inspiration for the inhabitants of Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital that became Mexico City.

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