Second pyramid found inside Kukulkan at Chichen Itza in Mexico
Scientists have found a second pyramid hidden deep within the Kukulkan pyramid at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico, CNN reports.
Researchers announced the discovery Wednesday of a pyramid 10 meters tall (33 feet) inside two other structures that make up the pyramid also known as El Castillo, or the Castle.
Earlier excavations in the 1930s had already revealed one structure inside the pyramid containing a red jaguar throne studded with jade.
Chichen Itza was founded about the sixth century, presumably by the Maya peoples of the Yucatán Peninsula. There is evidence of a 10th-century invasion by foreigners, probably Mayan speakers strongly influenced by the Toltec of central Mexico.
The invaders were responsible for the construction of El Castillo, which rises 24 meters (79 feet) high. It is constructed on top of a body of water known as a cenote, formed by a sinkhole in limestone formations.
A legendary tradition at Chichen Itza was the cult of the cenote involving human sacrifice to the rain god.
New tomography undertaken by researchers found another pyramid deep inside the Kukulkan pyramid.
Using a noninvasive imaging technique, researchers were able to look inside and discover a second substructure below the first one.
A ramp was observed -- most likely a small stairway -- and the probable existence of a religious altar.
"The structure that we have found, the new structure, is not completely in the center of the Kukulkan pyramid. It is in the direction where the cenote is," said Rene Chavez Segura, a scientist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM.
"This could either confirm or hypothesize that the Mayans when they built this structure that they knew of the existence of this cenote."