Underwater shrine appears to represent the beginning of space and time in Mesoamerican mythology

Mexican archaeologists have identified a stone “tetzacualco” – or shrine – that they think could have been constructed as a “miniature model of the universe”.

The structure is located in a pond on the side of the Iztaccihuatl volcano near Mexico City, on a site termed Nahualac.


With the shrine placed in the middle of a pond, the archaeologists that discovered it suggested that it is a representation of this origin story for the beginning of time and space – “a miniature model of the universe”.

According to archaeologist Iris Hernández of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, who led the research, architectural elements placed in water sources in this manner appear to have been “an important part of Mesoamerican thought”.

Dr Hernández suggested that water flowing into the pond was controlled to create a visual effect that made it appear like the stone structure was “floating on the water mirror”.