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Construction in Mexico City’s subway uncovers new archaeological finds

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Multiple artifacts have been uncovered during the past few weeks in Mexico City. Photo: INAH

Recent construction work on Mexico City’s subway system has given way to the discovery of several ancient artifacts.

The recent discoveries include pottery vessels as well as stone sculptures dating to prehispanic times.

Though important, such finds are relatively commonplace given that Mexico City sits upon the ancient city of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. 

“We are working closely with local authorities to ensure that all artifacts found during work on the subway system can be extracted safely,” said INAH project coordinator Salvador Pulido. 

But ensuring that all finds are protected is easier said than done as historically, many of the discoveries made during these types of excavations reveal large funerary complexes and even ceremonial structures. 

Discovered in the late 1960s, the Mexica Temple of Ehécatl near the Pio Suarez Subway station demanded a redesign of the entire stop.

Ensuring the preservation of The Temple of Ehécatl was no easy feat. But thanks to the conscientious work of many archaeologists and engineers, the structure is sure to survive for many more generations. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Earlier: El Templo Mayor, the great Aztec palace in the heart of Mexico City

But Pino Suarez is by no means the only place in Mexico City’s subway system where evidence of ancient Tenochtitlan can be found. Artifacts placed behind plexiglass can be found in dozens of locations. 

In fact, practically everywhere you go in Mexico City, it is possible to find evidence of the city’s ancient past.

But nowhere is this influence more obvious than in the heart of the city’s main square.

The remains of El Templo Mayor, or high temple of the of Tenochtitlan, are located in what today is the heart of one of the world’s largest urban areas — Mexico City. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht / Yucatán Magazine 

“Having to constantly revise construction plans is difficult and can get expensive, but we owe it to our ancestors and future generations,” said Pulido. 

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