Working at the site of a demolished supermarket in Mexico City, archaeologists only had to dig 10 feet down to find a temple built more than 650 years ago, researchers said Wednesday. The circular platform, about 36 feet in diameter and 4 feet tall, now sits in the shadow of a shopping mall under construction, the AP reports. The site is believed to have been built to worship the god of wind, Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl, and there are plans to preserve it and make it visible to the public with a large viewing window. What archaeologists initially found below the old supermarket—shards of pottery and human remains—was expected, said Pedro Francisco Sanchez Nava, national archaeology coordinator for Mexico's National Anthropology and History Institute.
But deeper down they were surprised to find the temple, which offers another example of how the Mexica-Tlatelolca people worshipped one of their principal deities, Sanchez said. Offerings found included an infant with no signs of trauma, bird bones, obsidian, maguey cactus spines, and ceramic figurines of monkeys and duck bills. The majority of the temple's original white stucco remains intact. The temple lies within the perimeter of a large ceremonial site in the capital's Tlatelolco neighborhood, though much of that perimeter is invisible, covered by an urban landscape. The site of the recently uncovered temple is just yards away from where Mexican soldiers massacred protesting students in 1968. (Read more archaeology stories.)