A well-preserved Jade Mask, Discovered in Pyramid of the Sun


The team of researchers integrated by archaeologists Alejandro Sarabia, Saburo Sugiyama, Enrique Perez Cortes and Nawa Sugiyama, announced this finding registered during explorations conducted in the 65-meters high pyramidal structure from 2008 to 2011.            

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Using the 116-meters long tunnel excavated in the 1930’s decade by archaeologist Eduardo Noguera, the Pyramid of the Sun Project, directed by Alejandro Sarabia, excavated 59 stratigraphic wells and 3 short tunnels, in order to reach the mother-rock level and verify the presence of burials and offerings.

Over the course of the exploration were discovered –at different distances from the entrance of the tunnel- 3 architectural structures constructed before the Pyramid of the Sun, as well as 7 human burials, some of them corresponding to infants, that were buried before the construction of the building, as well as 2 offerings, one of them of great richness.

The sumptuous offering was discovered at the meter 85 of the tunnel, inside the constructive filling, “so we know it was deposited as part of a consecration ceremony of the structure, probably at the beginning of its construction more than 1900 years ago” mentioned Perez Cortes, researcher at Zacatecas INAH Center.

The rich deposit, where a greenstone mask outstands, was integrated by several levels of objects; since the area of archaeological material extended to the south of the limits of the probing well, they decided to expand the exploration.

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Among the 3 greenstone sculptures found, outstands an extraordinary anthropomorphic mask carved out in one piece, with eyes inlayed in pyrite and shell, declared Perez Cortes; the serpentine mask, according to studies conducted by Dr. Jose Luis Ruvalcaba, from the National University Physics Institute (IF UNAM), is the only greenstone mask discovered until now in the ritual context of Teotihuacan.

The 11 centimeters high, 11.5 wide and 7.8 cm deep mask is different to other Teotihuacan masks because it presents smaller dimensions and has volume; it is possible that it was a portrait. A seashell was found next to the sculpture.