Clip | Teotihuacán’s Lost Kings - Archaeologists explore the tunnel below the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent

Mexican archaeologist Sergio Gomez Chavez and his colleagues discover a tunnel at the Teotihuacán site that continues in a straight path, directly to the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent which stands at the very center of the city.

Secrets of the Dead: Teotihuacán’s Lost Kings, premieres nationally Tuesday, May 24 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings).

Transcript Print

It had rained a lot those days, it was a very cold October 1st.

Suddenly some colleagues walked down here to tell me that the rain had carved a crack in front of the Temple of the Feathered Serpent.

Gómez remembers how he hurried down to the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent.

After some digging, he discovers a shaft that looks like a bottomless well.

When I went down the tunnel I felt fear rise up in me.

It was like losing control.

I still don't understand how I found my courage to go down there, with only a rope tied to my waist and no clue of what was coming.

My heart was beating hard.

I wanted to get out of there.

But then there was the tunnel.

I could see on one side that there was an opening.

Every archaeologist dreams of a moment like this.

Your work is driven by uncertain situations.

Gómez crawls into the crevice.

He can barely see two feet ahead.

As I moved forward I touched the walls.

They were very regular.

And very quickly from the way they felt, I understood: these were not natural walls - they were constructed by human hands.

They were part of an ancient structure.

We can't go further.

Sergio Gómez has reached what appears to be a dead end.

The tunnel is filled with debris.

He wants to know what lies beyond the rubble... and brings in a 3D laser scanner.

Hundreds of thousands of lasers bounce off the tunnel walls back to this device, creating a map of what's ahead.

The 3D image shows the tunnel continuing in a straight path, directly to the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent which stands at the very center of the city.

The pyramid represents the heart of Teotihuacan, its central landmark.

A tunnel leading directly underneath the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent must have some significance.

So I came to the conclusion that the tunnel had been sealed to bury something or someone at the end of it directly under the pyramid.

I thought it could be a ruler or a king.