10 ancient ruins that gave scientists exciting discoveries
Recently, the ruins, investigated by archaeologists around the world, gave a lot of unusual artifacts and previously unknown information about how the ancients lived. As a rule, everyone expects that the most interesting finds can be found only in new excavations. But this is actually not always the case. Some of the most valuable artifacts have been found in places that have been excavated for years.
1. The secret underground passage in the Pyramid of the Moon
The city of Teotihuacan is a real jewel for historians and archaeologists. In this megalopolis located in the territory of modern Mexico, after which there were stunning pyramids, 125 000 people once lived. In ancient times, Teotihuacan was one of the busiest places in the world. Today, it stirs the minds of researchers all over the world with its stunning architecture and a number of secrets (for example, no one knows why its population simply disappeared at one point).
Recently, scanning technology has been used to research previously inaccessible places. After scanning the so-called Pyramid of the Moon, which was built around the third century AD, scientists discovered a previously unknown underground passage. Interestingly, there was not only a corridor, the device also showed a camera measuring about 15 meters, which was 8 meters underground. The tunnel connected this room with a large area. Previously, in other non-temple corridors in Teotihuacan, buried human remains were found. If the structures inside the moon pyramid contain burials, they can explain the purpose of the pyramids. Researchers suspect that the “tunnel graves” inside the monuments may symbolize a kind of journey to the underworld.
2. Origin of chocolate
In 2002, the discovery of previously unknown people caused a sensation. Called Mayo-Chinchip, they once lived in the highlands of Ecuador. In 2018, a number of artifacts were found at the Santa Ana excavations. When scientists wanted to check for traces of a key ingredient of chocolate (cocoa tree seeds), they as a result changed the entire history of the origin of chocolate.
Firstly, the popular assumption that it originated in the Maya and other Mesoamericans was refuted. More than 40 stone and ceramic products showed traces of theobromine, a substance typical of cocoa seeds. This proved that chocolate was first used by the mayo-chinchipe culture more than 5,000 years ago. In fact, this find pushed back the sources of the popular drink almost 1500 years ago, and also moved its homeland from Central America to South America. The analysis showed that, in addition to eating a hot drink, Maya also learned how to chop the seeds of the Mayo-Chinchipe. In addition, the discovery confirmed the long-standing assumption that South America is the birthplace of chocolate.
3. “Second hand” monument
In 2018, archaeologists and volunteers gathered on a farm near the village of Bewley in England to investigate what they considered to be a mound of the Bronze Age. Despite the lack of evidence of burial, the 3,000-year-old mound did not disappoint them. Inside were found four urns, each of which contained cremated human remains. What is interesting and unusual, they were found in a completely unexpected place – in the ditch surrounding the mound. Also, these bins, which are ordinary ceramic pots, were buried upside down inside small pits.
Archaeological excavations in this region are quite rare, but intact burial was an extraordinary find. Several flint tools were also found, one of which was the tip of a 5,000-year-old spear. Scanning showed the possibility of the existence of two entrances to the Neolithic monument. The most unusual is that this building was later discovered by the Bronze Age community and processed into a funerary memorial.
4. The temple under the pyramid
In September 2017, a devastating 7.1-point earthquake shook Mexico. Among the most affected places was the archaeological site of Theopansolko. Archaeologists were shocked when, after scanning a single pyramid, trying to determine the level of damage inside, they found several walls that had nothing to do with the pyramid. In fact, they were much older and belonged to a separate temple.
Much of Theopansolko was built in the 13th century, but the walls date from at least 1150 AD. The temple was created by the Aztecs, in particular, the culture of Tlahwick. During their heyday, they built a 6×4 meter temple dedicated to the rain god Tlaloc. Inside, quite a few artifacts were found, but it was possible to restore the shards of pottery from incense burners.