Archaeology fans, gird yourselves for a new discovery: a hidden Aztec temple has been unearthed in the middle of Mexico City.
It’s not just the structure that has been found, either – archaeologists believe that human remains discovered onsite belong to sacrificial victims.
The site is on a side street in the centre of Mexico City, near the Templo Mayor – an Aztec temple which was demolished by the Spaniards, who built a church on top of it. The remains of the temple were excavated in the 1980s and the archaeological finds housed in a museum.
The ‘new’ temple, archaeologists have discovered, was dedicated to Ehécatl, the god of ‘good’ winds that brought rain. It is 36m long, with two circular buildings off the main temple, connected via a walkway. There is a 9m ritual ball court nearby. The excavations – unveiled to the press last week – have taken seven years so far, while the wider project, excavating the remains of the Aztec ceremonial site, which spans seven blocks of the historical city centre, has been going on for 25 years.
In pictures: 12 amazing archaeological discoveries
In pictures: 12 amazing archaeological discoveries
1/12 Ancient forest, discovered in February 2014
Ancient forest revealed by storms. The recent huge storms and gale force winds that have battered the coast of West Wales have stripped away much of the sand from stretches of the beach between Borth and Ynyslas. The disappearing sands have revealed ancients forests, with the remains of oak trees dating back to the Bronze Age, 6,000 years ago. The ancient remains are said by some to be the origins of the legend of ‚Cantre‚r Gwealod‚ , a mythical kingdom now submerged under the waters pif Cardigan Bay
2/12 Medieval royal palaces, discovered in November 2014
Archaeologists in southern England have discovered what may be one of the largest medieval royal palaces ever found – buried under the ground inside a vast prehistoric fortress at Old Sarum. The probable 12th century palace was discovered by archaeologists, using geophysical ground-penetrating ‘x-ray’ technology to map a long-vanished medieval city which has lain under grass on the site for more than 700 years
3/12 The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered ca. 1950
The Dead Sea Scrolls are almost 1,000 biblical manuscripts discovered in the decade after the Second World War in what is now the West Bank. The texts, mostly written on parchment but also on papyrus and bronze, are the earliest surviving copies of biblical and extra-biblical documents known to be in existence, dating over a 700-year period around the birth of Jesus. The ancient Jewish sect the Essenes is supposed to have authored the scrolls, written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, although no conclusive proof has been found to this effect
4/12 Diamond, discovered in March 2014
This rare diamond that survived a trip from deep within the Earth's interior confirmed that there is an ocean’s worth of water beneath the planet’s crust
5/12 Whale skeletons, discovered in February 2014
Chilean and Smithsonian paleontologists study several fossil whale skeletons at Cerro Ballena, next to the Pan-American Highway in the Atacama Region of Chile
6/12 Complete mammoth skeleton, discovered in November 2012
The first complete mammoth skeleton to be found in France for more than a century was uncovered in a gravel pit on the banks of the Marne, 30 miles north-east of Paris. Picture shows experts at work making a silicon cast of the mammoth's tusk
7/12 Million-year-old human footprints, discovered in February 2014
Photograph of the footprint hollows in situ on the beach as Happisburgh, Norfolk
8/12 Terracotta warrior, discovered in June 2010
Chinese archaeologists unearthed around 120 more clay figures in June 2010 excavations at the terracotta army site that surrounds the tomb of the nation's first emperor in the northwestern Shaanxi Province
© Jason Lee / Reuters
9/12 Neolithic 'lost avenue' - prehistoric stone circle, discovered in September 1999
The discovery of a Neolithic 'lost avenue' was described as one of the most important finds of the last century. Since the 1700s, archeologists and historians have argued over the existence of the huge sarsen stones, which were unearthed at the site of the world's biggest prehistoric stone circle at Avebury in Wiltshire
10/12 Byzantine mosaic, discovered in February 2007
Plans for a walkway at the centre of the furious dispute over Jerusalem's holiest site were delayed by the discovery of a Byzantine mosaic
11/12 Ancient gold, discovered in March 2014
Gold fitting for a dagger sheath (around 1900 BC.) found near Stonehenge
12/12 Rosetta Stone, discovered in 1799
The Rosetta Stone is a basalt slab inscribed with a decree of pharaoh Ptolemy Epiphanes (205-180 BC) in three languages, Greek, Hieroglyphic and Demotic script. Discovered near Rosetta in Egypt
Tenichtitlan, the ancient city, was the Aztec capital; the Templo Mayor is thought to have been built on the spot they believed was the centre of the universe. But it was razed in 1521 by the Spaniards, who built their colonial city on top of the remains.
This temple is thought to have been build during the reign of emperor Ahuizotl, who was on the throne from 1486 to 1502. Despite the Spaniards’ destruction, it is in relatively decent condition, with original white stucco still visible in parts. Although dedicated to Ehécatl, archaeologists have also found portrayals of other Aztec gods nearby, including Huitzilopochtli, the war god, and Tláloc, another rain god.
Archaeologists made a grisly discovery, however, on the ball court: the piled-up neck vertebrae of about 30 individuals – from infants to juveniles – thought to be the remains of sacrificial victims, made as offerings for the games.
There’s no word on when the site will open to the public, but with 40,000 archaeological sites in Mexico, there are plenty of other options.Reuse content