Archaeologists Discover Ancient Aztec Map Of Universe In Mexico

Posted: Jan 6 2018, 6:12am CST | by , Updated: Jan 6 2018, 6:22am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
Archeologists Discover Ancient Aztec Map of Universe in Mexico
Credit: National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH)

Located on the foothills of a volcano, a stone shrine appears to represent a miniature model of the universe

Archaeologists have found an ancient stone shrine in Mexico and they suggest it might have been used as a map of the universe.

The remnants of the stone shrine 'tetzacualco' were discovered inside a natural pond in the foothills of Iztaccihuatl volcano. Although it doesn’t feature stars, planets or other celestial objects, it depicts a specific design.

According to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the design represents a traditional myth of the Aztec civilization about the creation of the world and it says that Earth, heavens and everything therein is created from the body of a large sea monster called Cipactli.

Alongside the stone shrine, ceramic fragments, lithic materials, lapidaries and organic remains are also found, which have been associated with the rain god Tlaloc in Aztec mythology.

“The existence of a tetzacualco (shrine) in the middle of a natural pond and the optical effect that occurs when the water mirrors, from which it seems that the structure emanates, suggests that the place is the representation of a primeval time and space, a miniature model of the universe.” Researchers said in a statement.

The miniature model of the universe covers an approximate area of 300 by 100 meters and is estimated to be over 1,000 years old.

Since the shrine is placed in the middle of the pond, it creates an optical illusion and makes it look like the structure and mounds of stone are floating on the water surface.

“These visual effects, in addition to the characteristics of the elements that make up the site and the relationship they have with each other, make us suppose that Nahualac could represent a microcosm that evokes the primitive waters and the beginning of the mythical time-space'. Iris Hernandez, an archaeologist on the projecty, said.

The Nahualac pond consists of two sections: the tetzacualco or stone structure and a wide valley located 150 meters southeast of the structure which has a number of natural springs and ceramic pieces.

“In this area, ceramic materials were identified on the surface, some of them identified as Coyotlatelco (750-900 AD), Mazapa (850 to 900 AD) and Tollan Complex (900-1150 AD). Altogether, the archaeological evidences cover an approximate area of 300 by 100 meters." Hernandez said.

The excavation work along the structure is still underway.

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