Expedition Unknown – Lost Mexican City – S02E25

imageFor this episode, Josh is trying to unravel the mystery surrounding and ancient and powerful civilization very few people have even heard of. We’re familiar with the Aztec and Maya, but what if those civilizations modeled themselves after an even more powerful and advanced society? Enter the Teotihuacan, an advanced society that predates the Aztec by several hundred years. They too were a culture with advanced mathematics, incredible buildings, a vast understanding of the universe, and apparently shared a penchant for human sacrifice.

Archaeologists have uncovered uncovered burial chambers where people were bound and sacrificed as well as jewelry made of human bones. It was originally believed the Teotihuacan were a peaceful civilization, but it’s now believed they were a role model for human sacrifice and bloodletting.

Cholula is a neighboring city that has an immense underground pyramid built by the Teotihuacan. In fact, it’s the largest pyramid in the world, you just can’t see it. It has five miles worth of tunnels covered with art that predates the Aztec. This same art can be seen within other cultures, suggesting the influence of the Teotihuacan was quite vast.

Josh visits another site called the Mountain of the Blades, which is an obsidian mine. The Teotihuacan used the obsidian to make razor sharp weapons. Normally obsidian is a type of black glass, but in this very specific area, the obsidian is green. The Teotihuacan believed the green obsidian held supernatural powers which only they could harness. These same green blades have been found within other cultures the Teotihuacan visited.

While they haven’t found any tombs of Teotihuacan rulers, they have found multiple temples. Josh is able to enter tunnels beneath one of them. Within the tunnels they’ve been able to find more obsidian blades, pottery and carved statues. They have also discovered the tunnel ends at a room that is under the dead center of the temple. From the artifacts found as well as the shape and usual style of the room, they believe it is a representation of the Underworld.

It would have been used for rituals as well as ceremonies. It is also believed their rulers would have been cremated in a room like this, which explains why there are no burial chambers. It’s possible the new ruler would have been taken to the Underworld to preside over the cremation of the past ruler. When the ceremony was over, he would return from Hell as their new leader.

While there is no definitive explanation for their demise as culture, they are rewriting what they know. The Teotihuacan culture was far more expansive that previously thought with the physical layout of the town extending miles beyond what they originally mapped. They’ve also disregard them as a docile and peaceful people. It appears their level of blood sacrifice rivaled anything that came after them. And they were an incredibly powerful and influential people. Relics, such as the obsidian blades, have been found hundreds of miles away and it was these supernatural blades that instilled fear and submission within others.

It’s quite a fascinating story, with plenty of evidence left behind. It’s amazing they have pyramids almost completely obscured underground. And the weapons they made from obsidian, look as deadly as anything made from steel. In fact, the obsidian they mined was the steel of the time period. A dangerous culture that will surely offer up more interesting stories as their structure and past are unearthed.

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