The headline reads: “Liquid Mercury Found Under Pyramid At Teotihuacan Could Indicate Royal Tomb”. That’s pretty weird, in and of itself, right? Mercury? Deadly, deadly mercury? What in the world are ancient Mesoamericans doing with mercury?
Just because they call it the History Channel…
The myth and mystery surrounding the pyramids at Teotihuacan is already filled to brimming with weirdness, controversy and rancor.
A veritable slugfest of Mainstream vs. Fringe science ensues at the mere mention of the name Teotihuacan and the rancor only grows when stuff starts to get weird. Holy Quetzalcoatl Batman!
Well, it just got even weirder. Scrambling to come up with a theory that doesn’t involve space-faring alien overlords, Battlestar Galactica’s series finale or that dude with the crazy hair, the Big Brains @Science!™ have come up with all sorts of equally silly theories, as you shall see. Just because nobody’s found any skeletal remains of ancient Mesoamerican priests who’ve died from mercury poisoning shouldn’t make you throw down the Bullshit card, right?
But let’s not let those pesky facts stand in the way of a good yarn.
From the Inquisitr:
Researchers have discovered liquid mercury in a tunnel underneath a pyramid at Teotihuacan, Mexico, a finding that could indicate that sealed chambers beneath the monument contain the tomb of an ancient king. Mexican researcher Sergio Gómez and his team announced the finding on Friday, according to the Guardian, noting that they had uncovered “large quantities” of liquid mercury under the pyramid. A toxic metal, mercury had no readily apparent uses for the ancient civilizations that constructed mesoamerican pyramids, but it has been found at three other excavations, two Maya and one Olmec, in the past.
Researchers theorize that the liquid mercury could have symbolized an underworld lake or river, due in large part to its reflective qualities. According to Annabeth Headreck, a professor at the University of Denver, the liquid metal’s appearance could resemble a supernatural river that would serve as a gateway to the underworld, not unlike the river Styx.
“Mirrors were considered a way to look into the supernatural world, they were a way to divine what might happen in the future,” she asserted. “It could be a sort of river, albeit a pretty spectacular one.”
Gómez has been working to excavate the tunnel and chambers under the pyramid for six years, according to Yahoo News, at a city which was once the largest in the Americas. The tunnel is situated under Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Plumed Serpent, and Gómez’s team is working to excavate three chambers at its end. Gómez believes that deeper within these chambers the archaeologists will find the tomb of an as-yet-unnamed king, shedding light on the mysterious civilization which built the city.
The excavations have so far turned up a variety of artifacts, including stone sculptures, fine jewelry, and giant seashells, as the Inquisitr has previously reported. Adverse conditions, however, have slowed the pace of excavation. Researchers have been forced to contend with extreme humidity and mud in the course of their work, and will now be required to wear protective suits to shield them from the caustic effects of the liquid mercury.
Gómez expects the excavation of the chambers to be completed by October, with a full announcement of findings under the pyramid to be made by the end of 2015, despite the hindering presence of liquid mercury at the site.
As a final note to this singularly peculiar discovery, a quick internet search gleans this tasty nugget of Science Fiction weirdness: Guess what liquid mercury was used for in aerospace until relatively recently?
Good guess! Early Ion Propulsion systems used mercury for fuel, but it proved difficult to work with and they’ve since moved on to xenon gas. One can hazard a guess that Ancient Astronauts had that problem licked, though.
Let’s not talk about that. I’m sure it was just a gateway to the Underworld. That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. The ancient priests probably just wore protective gloves and coveralls per ancient OSHA theory. Safety first, ancient dudes!