Archaeologists intend to re-bury an unusual find in the old capital of the Aztecs

(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers from Mexico have decided to bury an unusual archaeological site found on the outskirts of Mexico City, hiding an important historical discovery until an unknown time in the future.

This is a tunnel built centuries ago as part of the Albarradon de Ecatepec: a system of dams and conduits designed to protect the historic city of Tenochtitlan from floods.

Considered by many to be the capital of the Aztec empire, Tenochtitlan had numerous levee systems to prevent flooding from heavy rains, but the Spanish conquistadors failed at first to appreciate the ingenuity of this indigenous infrastructure, destroying many of the pre-Hispanic structures in the early years of Spanish colonization.

However, after numerous floods flooded early colonial Mexico City, Albarradon de Ecatepec and other similar flood protection systems were repaired in the early 1600s.

Centuries later, archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) discovered one such system at Albarradon de Ecatepec, finding in 2019 a tunnel that preserved a unique synthesis of the cultures that created it.

This small tunnel, only 8.4 meters long, was only a tiny part of the colossal Albarradon de Ecatepec Dam, which stretched for a total of 4 kilometers and was built by thousands of indigenous workers.

But despite the fact that it was small, it still became an important (and unusual) discovery: the researchers found several glyphs from the pre-Hispanic period depicted on the design.

In total, 11 symbols were found, including images of a military shield, the head of a bird of prey, raindrops, etc.

It is speculated that the symbols may have been built into the tunnel by non-Spanish residents from the cities of Ecatepec and Chiconautla, who helped build Albarradon de Ecatepec.

Although the causeway features pre-Hispanic symbolism, its overall architecture suggests that the Spanish were responsible for the design.

“One of the objectives of our project was to recognize the dam construction system, which allowed us to prove that it does not have pre-Hispanic methods, but there are semicircular arches and andesitic voisics, lime and sand mortars, as well as a ceiling in the upper part, with stone arches,” – researchers explained in 2019.

“Everything has Roman and Spanish influences.”

The find was planned to be made a public display so that people could visit and view this unusual, centuries-old fusion of Aztec and Spanish cultural elements, but, unfortunately, this was not destined to come true.

Last year, INAH researchers announced that due to a lack of funds to properly build the exposition and protect the remarkable structure, the section of the tunnel would have to be closed again – reburied so that it would not be damaged, vandalized or looted.

The decision was largely due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis in Mexico, the researchers said.

The researchers said they would build special masonry to protect the glyphs and then fill the carefully excavated site with earth.

It’s not every day that archaeologists have to bury cultural treasures they’ve discovered in the ground. Let’s hope that a little more time will pass, and this section of Albarradon de Ecatepec will see the light again.


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