Hundreds of years ago, Francisco de Bourgeois, a Dominican priest, shared the story of a group of Spanish missionaries who explored the ruins of an ancient church in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Bourgeois claimed that missionaries discovered an underground temple with an extensive network of tunnels and four interconnecting chambers. Three of the four chambers contained the tombs of high priests and kings, but the fourth was more confusing.
Inside the final chamber was a door into a cavern that led deep underground—so deep, that the ancient Zapotecs believed it contained the entrance to the underworld, also known as Lyobaa.
Bourgeois said that the missionaries sealed all entrances to the underground caves. Since then, only the palaces and the church have remained.
That was until recently, when a group of archaeologists and experts conducted an extensive study of the site – and may have discovered the legendary room.
the Lyobaa Project Research Team He used various geophysical methods to survey the site and discovered several underground voids and anomalies that are consistent with historical accounts of the chamber system, according to a June 10 press release from the ARX Project.
Here’s what you need to know about discovery.
Mitla is one of them The most famous ruins of MexicoAccording to Britannica. Experts believe that it was established as a sacred burial site sometime before AD 900 by the Zapotec people.
The site consists of five main groups of structures, including the church group, where the entrance to the underworld is said to be located.
Mitla is located in Oaxaca, which is about 315 miles southeast of Mexico City.
Extensive underground system
The team said its findings confirmed the presence of an extensive system of chambers and tunnels beneath the church structures at the site.
Archaeologists said their research has discovered a large void below the main altar of the Catholic church ruins at the site, where tradition says the hidden underground chamber is located. The void extends in a northwest-west direction and appears to be associated with another anomaly just north of the church.
The study also revealed two east-west corridors connected to the void. The researchers said the passages were between 16 feet and 26 feet underground.
Experts also said they had identified a possible blocked entrance under the main altar of the Catholic Church.
The archaeologists said the finds are much more complex than the simple underground chambers found in other parts of the site. Their depth and orientation indicate that they may not have originally been connected to the above-ground buildings.
The team said it has already planned a second round of investigations at Mitla and hopes to conduct more surveys to learn more about the history of the site.