On the steep sides of the 8.4-metre-long tunnel in Ecatepec, right outside Mexico City, there have been found a series of images, including petroglyphs and stucco relief panels dating back to as early as colonial times, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said in a statement cited by the Mexico News Daily.
11 of the newly found carvings are diverse in terms of their topic, featuring everything from a war shield and the head of a carnivorous bird to a “paper ornament”.
Another image, a teocalli, or temple, is visible on the central stone of the arch entrance, with the temple believed by researchers to be dedicated to the rain god Tláloc.
The nature and meaning of most of the images are currently being studied. Raul Garcia, coordinator of a project to preserve the archaeological treasures of the dike system, which the tunnel is part of, brought up one of the assumptions that the images could have been made by indigenous people in Ecatepec, now a populous municipality, and Chiconautla, in pre-Hispanic times.
Residents of both towns worked on the construction of the dike, he added.
Per INAH Director Antonio Huitron, the dike, commonly known today as the Albarradon de Ecatepec, was declared a historic site several years ago and will soon be included into a public park so that people will be able to see the “cultural heritage to which they are heirs”.
The tunnel with the pre-Hispanic carvings will also be open to the public, but the original stones will be replaced with replicas, Huitron detailed.