Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Liquid mercury found under Mexican pyramid could lead to king's tomb

View of the Pyramid of the Moon from the Pyramid of the Sun
An archaeologist has discovered liquid mercury at the end of a tunnel beneath a Mexican pyramid, a finding that could suggest the existence of a king’s tomb or a ritual chamber far below one of the most ancient cities of the Americas. A researcher reported that he had discovered “large quantities” of liquid mercury in a chamber below the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent, the third largest pyramid of Teotihuacan.
Last November the team announced they had found three chambers at the tunnel’s 300ft end, 60 feet below the temple. Near the entrance of the chambers, they found a trove of strange artifacts: jade statues, jaguar remains, a box filled with carved shells and rubber balls. Mercury is toxic and capable of devastating the human body through prolonged exposure; the liquid metal had no apparent practical purpose for ancient Mesoamericans. But it has been discovered at other sites.

The mercury may have symbolized an underworld river or lake. Mirrors were considered a way to look into the supernatural world ... a way to divine what might happen in the future. Ancient Mesoamericans could produce liquid mercury by heating mercury ore, known as cinnabar, which they also used for its blood-red pigment. The Maya used cinnabar to decorate jade objects and color the bodies of their royalty.

The Quetzalcoatl Temple stairway.
A royal tomb could lend credence to the theory that the city, which flourished between 100-700AD, was ruled by dynasties in the manner of the Maya.