Archaeologists Uncover Hundreds Of Mysterious Orbs In Ancient Temple

In news that will likely delight Apollo 11 deniers, Roswell frequenters and Illuminati enthusiasts alike, archaeologists have discovered hundreds of mysterious, once-metallic spheres buried deep beneath an ancient pyramid in Mexico City. And we have absolutely no idea what they're for.

Described by Jorge Zavala, an archaeologist at Mexico's National Anthropology and History Institute, as an "unprecedented discovery", the orbs have called one of the most important temples an ancient, pre-Hispanic city home for the past 1800 years.

But this wasn't just your average ancient township; the city, Teotihuacan, was once one of the biggest in the world, boasting over 100,000 residents at a time when the Earth itself only held around 200 million. And it's this relatively massive population that makes the city's total abandonment for "mysterious reasons" in 700 AD all the more puzzling.

Plus, it seems that the Teotihuacans knew damn well they weren't coming back. Before fleeing the famine and/or alien invasion that consumed their home, people had filled their beloved temple's tunnels with so much debris and ruins that it took scientists several years of planning alone before they could dig their way in.

The fruit of all that prepatory labour? A team of wireless robots working together to offer a glimpse into an increasingly esoteric past.

Unearthing the Tomb

The robotic system, dubbed Tlaloque, includes a larger rover to take over carpool duty for two smaller mechanisms it chauffeurs around the ruins' dilapidated tunnels. Once the trio arrives at an actual chamber, one vehicle will break off and take infrared shots of the entire space while its smaller, flight-enabled drone friend zooms around to capture video footage. In this case, it's the infrared scanner that stumbled upon the orb-loaded chambers, which held hundreds of the clay-cored, yellow-tinted balls currently stumping scientists.

Fool's Gold

They yellow colour comes from jarosite, which forms as pyrite -- or fool's gold -- oxidizes. So back in 300 AD, when the Teotihuacanos used with these variously sized (1.5 to 5 inches) balls in whatever ceremonies or rituals they engaged in, they were looking at what might have seemed like beautiful, glimmering balls of gold.

As George Gowgill, professor emeritus at Arizona State University told Discovery News:

Pyrite was certainly used by the Teotihuacanos and other ancient Mesoamerican societies. Originally the spheres would have shown brilliantly. They are indeed unique, but I have no idea what they mean.

As the walls themselves were also dusted with pyrite -- giving a lovely golden sheen to the potter and crystal-covered masks scattered around the room -- the archaeologists believe that "high-ranking people, priests, or even rulers went down to the tunnel to perform rituals."

Ancient Intentions

What these golden-ball-requiring rituals might have entailed though remains just as inconclusive. As Zavala succinctly and ominously states: "No one can establish their function."

It seems entirely possible though that they served some sort of religious purpose; Teotihuaca -- translation: the place where men become gods -- began as a religious centre for the region, and the site has been thought to include a burial ground. The Teotihuacan people worshiped eight gods, and were known to practice human sacrifice during the dedication of buildings like, say, giant temples. All of which would have looked quite compelling against a gleaming gold backdrop.

Full answers may still come, and soon; there are still three chambers left for the researchers (and their robot friends) to go digging through. That last one might yield an even bigger surprise, its thick walls were demolished about 1,800 years ago so that the Teotihuacan people could deposit "something very important" in the safest part they could. Forget golden orbs; we might just be in for crystal skulls. [Mexico National Institute of Anthropology and History via Discovery News]

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      my work blocks imgur, but im going to hazard a guess that this is an image of the Ancient Aliens guy from the history channel? with a quote going "Aliens!" meme?

        Ha, jolly good show old chap.
        You have won yourself 5 internets.

    I can see the ancient aliens guys jumping all over this...
    "Ancient Aliens taught mankind how to build golden balls!"

      still doesn't stop him from being an idiot...

    In related news, futurologists come to the conclusion that thousands of years from now, archaeologists will be stumped by collections of marbles left behind in playgrounds.

    Maybe they're Apples Of Eden, Assassins Creed is real!!

    That's it, I'm off to jump off a tall building onto a small pile of hay

    Ferrero Roche

    God i love all this mystery / Archaeology shit,
    such a genuinely interesting thread has waaay to much sarcasm

    This is eerie...
    It must be aliens, no human would make little mud balls dusted with pyrite.

    Obviously, these are the Keys to the Chariots of the Gods :D

    Roller Coasters are going to completely baffle future archeologists.

    "Historically the name refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1, 1776 to oppose superstition, prejudice, religious influence over public life, abuses of state power, and to support women's education and gender equality." - Wikipedia

    Lumping 'real' conspiracies in with tripe like the hoaxed moon landing theories really just belies the authors credibility as a journalist ....

    As soon as I saw this headline I went "Yessss!" out loud. I have no idea why.

    Its alien shit :)

    They probably abandoned the big cities as people realised that living in massive populations meant that people began to dissconect from each other and their communities. Crime and corruption increased and social issues were not being dealt with in a humane manner. Just a theory.

    Looks like they found the p.e. store room.

    For the people saying future archeologists will be thrown off by marbles or roller coasters, we document things too well for stuff like that to happen. It's because these old civilizations are such a mystery that things like this wow us. They didn't have google or even basic photography to document the trivial things. And who knows? This could be the farthest thing from trivial.

    Sci fi: The sun unleashed a massive magnetic blast that totally disrupts all dna transforming living into nonliving, i.e. humans into the elements that compose the body. Explains where everyone went.

    Meso Americans, I think in the Valley of Mexico, also used iron oxide minerals (magnetite and ilmenite) to make mirrors. This is the stuff that so called "black diamond" jewelry is made of. Some of the mirrors were parabolic. Speculation is that they were used as fire starters, other unknown high temperature materials processing (possibly including rubber) and the usual ceremonial magic ritual purposes - keeping the masses awed and in their place. The latter may not have worked all that well. Oral history of the region indicates periodic social upheavals of civilization destroying power. Which may account for the priestly & princely classes stashing their gear in the temple tunnels, until - they hoped - the revolutionary fervor would pass and they would resume their proper place at the head of society.

    It has happened before. It will happen again. And probably not all that long from now.

    Point: Mirrors made of obsidian and ilmenite are dark, but very reflective. The Meso American God named "Smoking Mirror" may have referred to the (ability) super power of being able to make fire, or even to the super power of being able to make mirrors that could burn things. A good super power for those holding it, But the equal and opposite reaction is envy and resentment. Revolutionary populism. etc.

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