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  • It's 2017, and another day at work as an archeologist for the National Institute of

  • Anthropology and History.

  • One milk and two sugars in your coffee, you settle down into your chair in front of the

  • computer.

  • Who would think this would be the day you'd discover a secret passage to the underworld

  • in one of the most important yet mysterious pyramids in the world?

  • Not you, not today.

  • Your job isn't quite as exciting as people seem to think when you tell them you're

  • an archeologist.

  • You definitely have to play the long gamerather than digging up ancient ruins at

  • historical sites every day, you're spending your time looking at a computer screen, trying

  • to map out images and scans from the office instead of being directly involved in the

  • action.

  • You still love what you do of course, but it's not exactly glamorous.

  • Right now, you're working on a collaboration with the Geography Institute of a local university,

  • the Autonomous University of Mexico, to find out more about a pyramid at one of the most

  • significant historical sites in Mexico, Teotihuacán.

  • The area is a huge tourist attraction and has extremely well-preserved ruins, but you've

  • wanted to know what lies beneath the surface for a long time, and nobody has ever looked

  • below the Pyramid of the Moon as you are now.

  • Along with your team, you've been mapping the area digitally, and now you're surveying

  • the results.

  • As you look at the subterranean map, you notice a slight cavity.

  • Hmm, interesting.

  • In your experience, cavities in ancient structures tend to lead to something else.

  • Could this actually be something exciting?

  • You call a colleague over and look at some more images together.

  • And wait, what's this?

  • A door?

  • No, it's more than thatthat's a whole tunnel.

  • You're in shock as you investigate further.

  • Already you've found more than you expected todiscoveries like this don't happen

  • very often.

  • Researching more and putting everything together, you find that the Pyramid of the Moon has

  • a hidden tunnel roughly 10 meters below the ground with a diameter of around 15 meters

  • and that it leads into a huge chamber.

  • Such a significant site, buried under the ground for hundreds of years and invisible

  • to the naked eye.

  • You weren't expecting that when you arrived to work this morning.

  • Yet the appearance of the tunnel raises more questions than it answers.

  • Who built it?

  • What did they build it for?

  • And there's something eerie about that big chamber under the ground

  • Teotihuacán is an ancient city that dates way back pre-Columbian times, located around

  • fifty kilometers from what is now Mexico City.

  • Once the heart of Mesoamerica civilization, Teotihuacán was the most important and powerful

  • city of the region back in its heyday, and the home of 125,000 people or more.

  • Even all these years later, it makes for an impressive sight.

  • The first thing that strikes you when you see Teotihuacán is the towering, awe-striking

  • pyramids.

  • At the far end of the site is the Pyramid of the Moon, under which archeologists recently

  • discovered the secret tunnel.

  • It's only the second-largest pyramid, at a puny thirty-four meters high, but it is

  • the most elevated point in the village since it was built on an incline.

  • It's surrounded by twelve smaller pyramids, which were probably used for sacrifices.

  • Wasn't everything back then?

  • Close by the Pyramid of the Moon isyou guessed itthe Pyramid of the Sun.

  • At 66 meters tall, it's the largest pyramid.

  • And to keep the theme going, the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun are connected

  • by a road called The Avenue of the Dead.

  • I don't know who created this damn village, but they were sure extra with their names.

  • Finally, going slightly off-theme, at the other end of the village is the Temple of

  • the Feathered Serpent.

  • Now, that might sound like a slightly strange name, but we used to have to call the temple

  • Quetzalcoatl, so I'm not complaining

  • The village of Teotihuacán is laid out in a grid, kinda like most American cities – I

  • guess those architects really were ahead of their time.

  • As well as the main pyramids, it was home to thousands of apartment-like compounds,

  • plazas, palaces, and more.

  • Plenty of places for sacrifice no doubt.

  • Unfortunately, these superficial facts are pretty much the extent of our knowledge about

  • Teotihuacán.

  • I've been talking in loose, vague terms about the society who built it and lived there

  • for a reasonwe don't know who they were.

  • Most of the story of the historical site is also shrouded by mystery.

  • It's believed that the city was founded around 150 BC, although some estimations put

  • this as early as 400BC.

  • This is roughly the same time period as Ancient Rome existed.

  • But we don't have a cool, catchy name for the people who built Teotihuacán since we

  • just don't really know anything about them.

  • The most famous ancient civilizations from Mexico are the Mayans and the Aztecs, but

  • neither of these groups could have been responsible for building Teotihuacán.

  • The Mayans came from the south of the country, in Yucatán and bordering countries Guatemala

  • and Belize, and the Aztecs didn't even come on to the scene until around 1300 AD.

  • Pffftcall that ancient?

  • So, who did build the city?

  • Researchers used to believe that another ancient civilization called the Toltecs were the ones

  • who lived there, but this has since been debunked by most people in the know.

  • Idiotsof course it wasn't the Toltecs.

  • An alternative idea is that the Totonacs built ityes, that's the Totonacs and not

  • the Toltecs, I know it gets confusing.

  • Finally, some believe Teotihuacán was built by various immigrants who fled the eruption

  • of a nearby volcano, presumably forming some kind of multicultural utopia where everyone

  • loved each other regardless of their background.

  • This would make some sense since the architecture of the city has aspects from the Mayan, Mixtec,

  • and Zapotec cultures.

  • The little evidence available shows that the town was probably at the peak of its influence

  • at around A.D. 300, when it was the most powerful city of the region.

  • But, like all great empires, it met its inevitable collapse.

  • About 300 years later, by A.D. 750, the village was completely deserted.

  • The descent of greatness probably began in 600 A.D., because that's when many buildings

  • were burned and religious sculptures were destroyed.

  • Presumably, some kind of revolution took place against the ruling classes to cause such drastic

  • actions of rebellionyou don't touch the scriptures unless you're really serious.

  • Alternatively, it's possible that the city was invaded, and the attackers were the ones

  • to start burning and destroying everything.

  • This seems slightly unlikely considering the power and influence of Teotihuacán, but then

  • again, maybe they should have focused on defensive military structures instead of making temples

  • dedicated to feathered serpents and impractical secret tunnels that don't actually lead

  • to anywhere.

  • However, all those pyramids and temples weren't built in vain.

  • The Aztecs discovered Teotihuacán when they appeared in the 1300s and decided the village

  • was pretty cool, so they took it for themselves.

  • Actually, it was the Aztecs that came up with the name Teotihuacán, which means 'the

  • place where men become gods' in the ancient Aztec language of Nahuatl.

  • But if you think that's hard to pronounce, just wait until you hear its original name.

  • It's believed that Teotihuacán used to be called Meztli Itzácual.

  • But truth be told, nobody really knows much about the original civilization.

  • Ever since the seventeenth century, archeologists and historians have been trying to figure

  • out more about the mysterious location.

  • That's why the discovery of the tunnel is so significantit could give historians

  • the clues they need to get to the bottom of this once and for all.

  • You know better than anyone the struggles that researchers before you have gone through

  • to find out more about Teotihuacán.

  • Although there have been a few findings there, they always led to more questions than answers.

  • Some archeology researchers previously found skeletons with skull deformations in the remains

  • of the Pyramid of the Moon, indicating that something similar could be found beneath the

  • ground.

  • Then, between 1998 and 2004, the remains of hundreds of animals were also found.

  • It all pointed to something big.

  • That's why your institute decided to look below once and for all.

  • And you did it without even having to break the ground, thanks to a sophisticated technique

  • called electrical resistivity tomography.

  • It's a fancy way of saying that you measured the electrical potential of everything below

  • the ground to figure out if there was anything from above the earth, lying beneath it.

  • So, instead of going below the ground and investigating yourself at the risk of ruining

  • such an important site, you and your colleagues injected electric currents into the subsoil

  • around the pyramid.

  • This allowed you to measure the resistance of different materials found and create 2D

  • and 3D models.

  • The subterranean images just look like a mesh of green, yellow, and red blobs at first,

  • but seeing the resistivity map of the area and gauging the geologic properties helped

  • you to discover a cavity, which turned out to be a tunnel.

  • And, examining further, you realized that the tunnel led to a whole chamber.

  • Yet, once again it's led to confusion.

  • What was the so-called Pyramid of the Moon actually used for?

  • I mean, it wasn't exactly easy to create such a deep tunnel a thousand years ago.

  • You can be sure that the Toltecs, the Totonacs, or whoever they were, didn't just build

  • one on a whim.

  • Most researchers now think the chamber was used for funeral rituals and the tunnel was

  • a route to the underworld.

  • They're as good a reason as any, I suppose.

  • Many of the features found around and beneath the Pyramid of the Moon resemble underground

  • chambers from similar ruins that we know were used for these kinds of rituals.

  • Other tombs have contained human remains from sacrifices and other items like jewelry and

  • grave objectsand similar items have been found near the Pyramid of the Moon.

  • In 2004, human sacrifices of people with their hands bound behind them, or even decapitated,

  • were found in the Pyramid of the Moon.

  • Yeah, back then you needed to put your head down and avoid eye contact whenever anyone

  • mentioned a ritual or sacrifice.

  • Archeologists have also found animal remains of canines, felines, and birdsall breeds

  • associated with warriors and fighting.

  • The sacrifices were probably done to celebrate state power and militarism, in the hope the

  • gods would ensure Teotihuacán remained strong and prosperous forevermore.

  • Funnily enough, it seems it didn't work

  • Another giveaway that the chamber was used for rituals is the presence of various green

  • megalithic stones found near the pyramid.

  • These stones were very valuable at the time and often used for sacred rituals, so it's

  • unlikely that they were just there by chance.

  • This is a further indicator that the chamber under the pyramid was used for special ceremonies.

  • And the tunnel?

  • Well, we know that other cultures present in Mesoamerica at the time were very concerned

  • with the underworld and created tunnels under their greatest monuments to emulate it.

  • They believed that life, plants, and food were created in the underworld, so building

  • a passage to it was another way of guaranteeing prosperity, and was used to celebrate agricultural

  • cycles.

  • It seems extremely likely that the tunnel under Teotihuacán was built for this purpose,

  • too.

  • The Pyramid of the Moon isn't the only place on the Teotihuacán site that's been found

  • to house a tunnel below its grounds.

  • In the 1970s, researchers discovered connections under the Pyramid of the Sun similar to those

  • under the Pyramid of the Moon.

  • But, tantalizingly, it turned out they had already been lootedprobably by indigenous

  • people.

  • So, we were left none the wiser about who the mysterious people who built these tunnels

  • actually were, and what intentions they had.

  • In 2003, a sinkhole opened in front of the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, leading to

  • the accidental discovery of another tunnel.

  • It was found to be 100 meters long, with the entrance eerily sealed by boulders.

  • Here, archeologists found around 75,000 artifactsbut they'll take many more years to

  • analyze and restore fully.

  • And there's even more left to discover of the chambersarcheologists are literally

  • using toothbrushes to uncover remains without damaging anything, so it's going to take

  • a while.

  • Interestingly, a single tomb is yet to be found on the site.

  • Whereas other ancient civilizations, like the Mayans for example, are famous for giving

  • their rulers opulent tombs, the leaders of Teotihuacán seem to have vanished without

  • a trace.

  • I guess they were just more low-key.

  • Or maybe they really did manage to head off into the afterlife

  • When it comes to Teotihuacán, we know so much and yet so little.

  • We've discovered three secret tunnels and numerous remains of all shapes and sizes,

  • yet we still have no idea who the people were who lived there.

  • This knowledge gap will hopefully go away in the future, as archeologists uncover more

  • of what lies below and make some sense of it.

  • An entrance has been found to the tunnel under the Pyramid of the Moon, so researchers may

  • be making their way to the underworld soon.

  • Let's just hope it hasn't already been looted

  • To learn more about the confusing world of ancient civilization, check out our video

  • about the supposed curse on those who opened King Tut's tomb, or how an ancient civilization

  • in Malta vanished.

  • Whichever you choose, we guarantee you'll enjoy it, so click now!

It's 2017, and another day at work as an archeologist for the National Institute of

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Secret Tunnel Discovered Under Ancient Pyramid

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    Summer   に公開 2020 年 08 月 01 日
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