Temple thought to be the stuff of legend discovered in Mexico

Temple thought to be the stuff of legend discovered in Mexico
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A new discovery has got archaeologists incredibly excited after they have found the remains of an ancient Mexican temple that was thought to be the stuff of legend.

For years, a legend in the central Mexican city of Atlixco told of the existence of a lost temple (also known as a teocalli) built long before the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century.

The local Atlixquenses people believed the temple was built on the top of San Miguel Hill where, today, a Catholic chapel dedicated to the archangel Michael currently stands.

But, despite the legend and rumours remaining strong, there has never been any archaeological evidence to back them up, until now.

Thanks to work conducted by the Ministry of Culture of the Government of Mexico through the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) remnants of the structure appear to have confirmed it is real and once existed.

The Catholic chapel on top of San Miguel HillCreative Commons

The incredible discovery was made by accident when the chapel’s lighting was undergoing renewal and the paths leading up to it were reinforced.

During this work, a team of researchers found items over 1,000 years old that included stone tools, ornaments, and clay vessels, that were made by Mesoamerican Nahua indigenous people.

Following this discovery, INAH archaeologists Miguel Medina Jaen and Carlos Cedillo Ortego, along with Elvia Cristina Sánchez de la Barquera, undertook survey work on the chapel grounds where they made the discovery of stone wall and floor remains from the ancient temple.

They were found lying approximately 90cm below the foundations of the chapel and pre-date the current structure.

According to an INAH statement, their discovery confirms that “a teocalli did exist on the summit of the hill, San Miguel, and that it had at least two construction stages.”

Though it is not yet clear who the temple was dedicated to, the experts hope to gain more clarity as research continues, explaining “segments of the teocalli and greater clues to clarify which was its titular deity still lie under the viceregal chapel of San Miguel Arcángel”.

It comes as cave divers in Mexico discovered the fossilised teeth of a Megalodon shark in a newly discovered flooded sinkhole.

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