An ancient Aztec temple has been discovered hiding under a Mexican pyramid for over 800 years. It was revealed by the earthquake that struck the country in September 2017.

Located outside the city of Cuernavaca, the Teopanzolco pyramid was one of the many buildings damaged by the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred last year. While checking for structural damage, archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History found an ancient Aztec temple hidden underneath.

Teopanzolco pyramid Mexico
The Teopanzolco pyramid outside Cuernavaca, the capital of the southern state of Morelos, Mexico

The temple measures about 6 meters x 4 meters and was built by the Tlauhica civilisation around 1150 AD. The Teopanzolco pyramid (the name means “the place of the old or abandoned temple”) was built by the same people and dates back to the 13th century.

Ancient Aztec temple discovered after 800 years

The Tlauhica often built building new structures over old ones. This led to the older temple being hidden for so many years. They eventually became part of the larger Aztec Empire in the 15th century. But, they abandoned their temples when the Spanish invaded.

Ancient Aztec temple mexico
Archaeologists work on the hidden temple under the pyramid. (Image by Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images)

Archaeologists also found an incense burner and some ceramic crockery at the ancient Aztec temple. They are continuing to explore the temple, as they hope to uncover more.

The newly discovered temple is dedicated to the Aztec deity Tlaloc, “he who makes things sprout”. Tlaloc was the god of the powerful element of water, controlling rain, hurricanes, floods, and droughts. He controlled both the life-giving and the destructive aspects of water. This made him both revered and feared among the other Aztec gods, and the people of ancient Mexico.


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