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Mysterious Aztec Shrine May Be Ancient Depiction of Universe

Researchers working on behalf of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have unearthed an ancient Aztec site unlike anything they’ve found before. The shrine was found at an elevation of 13,000 feet in a volcanic pond near the dormant Iztaccihuatl, or “White Woman” volcano in central Mexico which is central to several Aztec legends. The stone shrine was found lying at the bottom of a shallow pond, and researchers believe the shrine was originally constructed to appear as if it were floating just below the surface of the water. Most fascinating of all, archaeologists believe that this site may be an early ‘map’ of the known universe according to Aztec mythology.

Aerial view of the site. (INAH).

Aerial view of the shrine with water drained. (INAH).

According to several Mesoamerican creation myths, the primeval sea monster Cipactli floated on primordial waters until it split itself in two, creating the heavens and Earth in the process.. In a statement, INAH archaeologists claim the flow of water within this tetzacualco, or shrine, could have been controlled using nearby springs, creating a visual effect meant to evoke the Cipactli creation myth:

The existence of a tetzacualco 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.

Evidence of a temple which once housed the site has been found along with numerous other artifacts including blades, pottery, and stone tools. Several finds suggest the site also could have been a site of worship for the Aztec rain god Tlaloc.

Excavations of the site are still underway. (INAH).

Excavations of the site are still underway. (INAH).

While far from proving any ancient astronaut theories, the discovery of this mythological representation of the known universe adds to a growing body of evidence which suggests Aztec civilization and technology may have been more advanced than we currently know. Plus, a floating crocodile-god shrine sure is a lot cooler than that creation museum in Kentucky. I wonder what future archaeologists are going to have to say about that one.