Mysterious Mexican Discovery: Mayan Deity’s Hidden Temple

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3 min readNov 1, 2023

Archaeologists from the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have uncovered a structure that was likely dedicated to Kukulcan. This discovery occurred during excavations at the ancient Mayan city of El Tigre in the state of Campeche.

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El Tigre is an ancient Mayan city located in the southern part of the state of Campeche, Mexico. It was built on natural hills on the left bank of the Candelaria River and has been inhabited since around 600 BCE, according to the dating of the ruins of ancient dwellings, pyramids, and other structures. Over time, during the so-called preclassic period, the settlement became an important center of trade.

Remnants of a structure related to the Mayan god cult

Archaeologists from the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) recently conducted archaeological excavations at the El Tigre site. During their latest research, they discovered remnants of a structure associated with the cult of Kukulcan. According to Mayan beliefs, Kukulcan was the equivalent of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl and the Inca god Viracocha. He was considered the creator of the world and the promoter of civilization, often depicted as a great serpent.

Representatives of INAH stated that the structure is circular and likely dates back to around 800–1000 years ago. This was a period when the settlement was losing importance but still inhabited by many people.

Former Temple of Kukulcan

Ernesto Vargas Pacheco, the excavation leader and INAH member, explained that the structure once had two levels. The surviving remnants are likely the basement of the former temple. Similar basements can be found in El Tigre, as well as in Edzná, Becán, Uxmal, and Chichén Itzá, he emphasized.

Archaeologists noted that this discovery is unique because it demonstrates a significant shift in the culture and relations with other regions in Mesoamerica. The cult of Kukulcan originated in Chichén Itzá, a city located in present-day Yucatán. The influence of this deity extended to the Guatemalan Highlands and northern Belize during the classical period.