Archaeology shock: Ancient ‘underworld pyramids’ discovered on isolated Mexican mountain

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The two giant stone monuments are believed to be around 1,500 years old. They were uncovered on an isolated mountain top in central Mexico. Archaeologists say the site was initially found by villagers.

They think that in its heyday it would have consisted of seven pyramids, a ceremonial area and a games court.

It is thought that the Zapotecs, who inhabited the highlands of what is now Mexico, built the ancient structure.

The Zapotecs flourished in the Valley of Oaxaca in Mesoamerica.

Archaeological evidence shows how their culture originated at least 2,500 years ago.

The carvings in the most recent monuments discovered suggests they may have been dedicated to the god of the underworld.

The site is strategically located – at the very point of the Cerro de Peña mountain in Puebla state at a height of 1,845m (6,000ft).

It has been hidden, archaeologists think, since the sixth century.

A rocky path which takes two hours to climb is the only current known route to the site.

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Residents of the nearby village of Santa Cruz Huehuepiaxtla came across the remains.

As things stand, researchers have found two stelae (etched stone panels) as well as smaller carved stones.

One of the carvings is of an intricate figure with horns and claws wearing a loincloth.

Some of the others are believed to represent animals in the area – for example, an iguana and a female deity symbolising a bat.


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José Alfredo Arellanes, from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), says 87 glyphs, or symbols, have been found so far.

Mr Arellanes says initial investigations suggest a ceremonial area, flanked by temples and the homes of the rulers, would have been located at the top of the mountain.

The researchers went as far as to suggest that the site would have also once had seven pyramids and a court to play pelota.

In pelota, players use their hips to propel a rubber ball through stone hoops and has been played for thousands of years by indigenous Americans.

Puebla is known to be a rich area for archaeological expeditions.

Locals said they were proud to have helped researchers in finding the most recent discoveries.

Analysis of the items found is ongoing.

But, archaeologists said they were fairly certain that the site could have been built by people belonging to the Zapotec civilization, also known as the “Cloud People”.

The Zapotecs had a sophisticated architecture and style of writing based on glyphs.

The tribe was monotheistic, meaning they believed in myriad gods associated with agriculture and animals.

The Grand Plaza with building H of Monte Alban Valley of Oaxaca

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