Barnhart, Deyo and Dunning: Discoveries at the Quetzalcoatl Pyramid at Teotihuacan
The volume and variety of objects hidden in the sealed tunnel under Teotihuacan’s ornate Feathered Serpent Pyramid has shattered records for discoveries at the ancient city, once the most populous metropolis of the Americas and now a top tourist draw just outside modern-day Mexico City.
Over 100,000 artifacts from the tunnel have been cataloged so far, ranging from finely-carved statues, jewelry, shells, and ceramics as well as thousands of wooden and metallic objects that mostly survived the passage of time intact.
On a recent tour of the tunnel and conservation workshops where his 30-member team pores over the trove, Gomez showed off some of the dig’s most spectacular and until now unreported finds – all part of ceremonial offerings left along the 100-meter-long (330 ft) tunnel, which ended in three chambers directly under the pyramid’s mid-point.
“Can you see it?” Gomez asked, shining the light of his cellphone on a tennis-ball-sized carved amber sphere he picked up from a workshop table. Illuminated, it looks like molten lava.
It is the first time an ornament made from amber has turned up in Teotihuacan. Found with a small top and residue inside that awaits further analysis – Gomez speculates it may be tobacco – it likely hung around a priest’s neck.