W5 Reflection Post

1.      The best archaeological find and my favorite would be the Mythological Mercury Pool.  I found this archaeological discovery the most fascinating because we have already gained previous knowledge about Teotihuacan and it is so interesting to continue to uncover clues about their ceremonial burials.  I am also a chemistry major so to see an element from the periodic table reveal itself in the archaeological record was very surprising and interesting.  But the most incredible aspect was that the archaeologists found this mercury in liquid form instead of the very common powder form.  This only raises further questions as to who was buried in these tombs and how these people obtained liquid mercury. 

2.      In this discovery, Sergio Gomez has found traces of mercury in 3 of the tombs along with 5 underground chambers that contain thousands of artifacts including animal bones and offerings.  They also found jade from Guatemala and seashells from the Caribbean along with preserved plant seeds and what could be fragments of human skin.  The context of these materials is not discussed much, but it is known that most of the artifacts listed were found in the underground chambers and were thought to be used in ceremonial purposes.

3.      As we have seen before, the people of Teotihuacan place great importance in ceremonial burials including symbolism in the form of water.  In an article I have discussed earlier, archaeologists had discovered an underground water tunnel beneath an ancient tomb much like the underground water tunnel discovered underneath a tomb in Teotihuacan.  It is believed that this water tunnel carried the souls of the deceased to the afterlife.  Much like these water tunnels, the mercury pools symbolized meaning in these tombs as well.  It is believed that the mercury pools symbolized the geography of the underworld.  Possibly these mercury pools could depict the collection of dead souls that have gathered in these tombs.  It has also been inferred that many of these highly preserved artifacts like the liquid mercury, plant seeds and human skin has been able to resist decay because of the humidity and lack of oxygen in the tombs. 


Many of these top ten findings are very fascinating because they involve discoveries that don’t fit into the current timeline or archaeological record that we have previously built like the discovery of the ancient stone tools, and the Bronze Age Bride.  As I have seen so far in archaeology, we often create timelines or attribute specific characteristics to different cultures and discoveries like these force us to reassess our data and generate a new story about all of the artifacts.  But what surprised me the most about these finds is the fact that we are finding them just now.  Many of these sited have already been excavated and new information and artifacts are revealed every day.  It forces me to be curious about all the other amazing perspective altering discoveries that are out there waiting to be uncovered.

2 thoughts on “W5 Reflection Post

  1. The mercury pool was a phenomenon I was not expecting to read about. The most mercury I have ever seen together at one point is in a mercury thermometer at school, but to read about a pool of mercury is something I never knew could exist. I did not know mercury came in a powder form, but had only heard about it in liquid form. I also would like to learn how these people transported all this mercury into these tombs for certain individuals to be buried with. I agree with you on how it is surprising that we are finding these artifacts only now even though these sites have already been excavated for months or even years.

  2. I really like your last point. I agree that the fact that discoveries are still being made that challenge any sort of current timeline or archaeological records. I talked about this a bit in my post, but the fact that discoveries like this are being made goes to show how important it is to still explore and do field work. New discoveries not only can serve as new idea starting points, but can also help to confirm and redefine old theories and ideas. It also seems like you were getting at the point that there is still so much that can be found at old sites. Just because they were searched once does not mean that they were fully tapped of all available information. With new resources, methods, and ideas, going back to old sites has the potential to be fruitful for researchers.

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