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Scientists now say there are two 'Russian doll' structures inside this Mayan pyramid

The discovery suggests that the Kulkulkan pyramid was built in three phases.

The spring equinox at the Kukulkan Pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico, in 2009.
The spring equinox at the Kukulkan Pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico, in 2009.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

EXPERTS HAVE DISCOVERED a third structure within the Kukulkan pyramid in eastern Mexico, revealing that it was built like a “Russian nesting doll,” experts have said.

A 10-metre (33-foot) tall pyramid was found within another 20-metre structure, which itself is enveloped by the 30-metre pyramid visible at the Mayan archeological complex, known as Chichen Itza in Yucatan state.

The smallest pyramid was built between the years 550 and 800 CE, engineers and anthropologists said.

The middle structure had already been discovered in the 1930s and dates back to the years 800-1,000 CE, while the largest one was finished between 1050-1300 CE.

The discovery suggests that the pyramid, known as El Castillo (the Castle), was built in three phases.

Rene Chavez Seguro, the project’s chief and a geophysics researcher at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told a news conference:

It’s like a Russian nesting doll. Under the large one we get another and another.

Structures were built on top of each other for various reasons, including deterioration or the arrival of new leadership, said Denisse Argote, expert at the National Anthropology and History Institute.

The smallest pyramid was spotted using a non-invasive technique that consists in lighting the inside of the pyramid to see its interior without causing damage.

The discovery could shed light on the original Mayan culture before it was influenced by populations from central Mexico, Argote said.

Last year, archeologists discovered that the Kukulkan pyramid was built atop a cenote, or underground river, which are common in the region and are sacred to the Maya.

- © AFP, 2016

Read: Day of the Dead: Mexico City mimics Spectre scene in a return to tradition

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