Mystery of the Mexican ‘goldenballs’ cave: Scientists baffled by hundreds of spheres found in hidden tunnels.
The discovery was made by archaeologists from the Mexico National Institute of Anthropology and History, who admit they have no idea what the spheres are for.
A tiny robot called Tláloc II-TC, which has been scanning tunnels deep beneath the famous temple, found the orbs using infrared scanners.
Hundreds of mysterious spheres have been discovered beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent, in the pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan, just 30 miles from Mexico City
According to archaeologists from the Mexico National Institute of Anthropology and History, the spheres would have appeared to be made of gold because they are covered in jarosite – a bi-product of the oxidisation of pyrite, also known as Fool’s Gold
Infrared scanners found the location of the chamber and the orbs. Archaeologists have no idea what the spheres would have been used for, although believe they may have been involved with religious rituals
They were hiding in a previously unexplored ancient chamber at the end of a stretch of 2,000-year-old unexplored tunnel on the Teotihuacan site, near the Pyramid of the Sun.
Jorge Zavala, an archaeologist on the dig said: ‘They look like yellow spheres, but we do not know their meaning.
It’s an unprecedented discovery.’
The spheres are made of clay and range from 1.5 to 5 inches in circumference.
They get their yellow colour from a material called jarosite.
Lead archaeologist Sergio Gomez explained that the spheres appear to be made of metal because jarosite is formed by the oxidation of pyrite, which is a metallic ore also known as Fool’s Gold.
The walls in the chamber were also found to be dusted in pyrite, which gave it an appearance of a gold room.
The archaeologists therefore think that the orbs would have been used by ‘high-ranking people, priests, or even rulers’ to perform rituals within the tunnels.
Although, the team admit what part they played in these rituals, and what these rituals meant remain a mystery.
The team from the Mexican Institute have been using the robot for months to explore the tunnels under the celebrated temple, also known as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl.
Explorer: This robot may have made a momentous discovery in a 2,000-year-old tunnel in Mexico
The was the first image transmitted by the robot deep under the ancient temple
Famous: The social structure of Teotihuacan remains a mystery after nearly 100 years of archaeological exploration at the site
The temple lies about 37 miles north of Mexico City and the site houses the remains of the pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan in the Basin of Mexico.
It is best known for the towering Pyramids of the Moon and the Sun.
Earlier this year, the team and the remote-controlled robot found three unexplored passages.
It was only expected to find one.
The discovery of the hidden passages and golden orbs could be highly important.
In 2010 experts said a tomb discovery would be significant because the social structure of Teotihuacan remains a mystery after nearly 100 years of archaeological exploration at the site.
When the civilisation was abandoned, almost 50,000 high-value objects including jade, stone, shell and pottery, such as ceramic beakers, were thrown into the tunnel because it was closed up.
The remote control vehicle is equipped with a video cameras and a mechanical arm to clear obstacles out of its way as it maneuvers through the tight passageway
Tourists look on at the archaeological area of the Quetzalcoatl Temple about 37 miles north of Mexico City
This map shows the chambers of the tunnel, found beneath the Temple of the Feathers Serpent, as plotted by the laser scanner. Archaeologists were only expecting to find one chamber, but the robot discovered three hidden rooms
No depiction of a ruler, or the tomb of a monarch, has ever been found, setting the metropolis apart from other pre-Hispanic cultures that deified their rulers.
Vertical excavations begun in 2009 to reach the mouth of the tunnel suggest this was a ruler’s tomb, claims Gomez.
‘I think the tunnel was the central element, the main element around which the rest of the ceremonial center was built,’ Gomez said. ‘This was the most sacred place.’
‘There is a high possibility that in this place, in the central chamber, we can find the remains of those who ruled Teotihuacan,’ he added.
Archaeologist Sergio Gomez from the National Institute of Anthropology and History explains the developments to the media
The robot is seen near the entrance of a tunnel in the archaeological area. After months of exploration it might have made a momentous discovery