Sanctuary on side of Mexican volcano could be universe model

AP

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  • In this 2016 photo provided by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, INAH, researchers excavate a site on the shores of Nahualac Lagoon, at the foot of the Iztaccihuatl volcano in Mexico State, Mexico. Mexican archaeologists say they have excavated a stone sanctuary in a pond on the side of a volcano east of Mexico City that may have been built as a miniature model of the universe. (Isaac Gomez/INAH via AP)

  • 1

    In this 2016 photo provided by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, INAH, researchers excavate a site on the shores of Nahualac Lagoon, at the foot of the Iztaccihuatl volcano in Mexico State, Mexico. Mexican archaeologists say they have excavated a stone sanctuary in a pond on the side of a volcano east of Mexico City that may have been built as a miniature model of the universe. (Isaac Gomez/INAH via AP)

  • 2

    In this 2016 photo provided by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, INAH, researchers stand on the shore of Nahualac Lagoon, at the foot of the Iztaccihuatl volcano in Mexico State, Mexico. Mexican archaeologists announced on Wednesday, Jan. 3 2018, they have excavated a stone sanctuary in the lagoon, on the side of a volcano east of Mexico City that may have been built as a miniature model of the universe. (Isaac Gomez/INAH via AP)

  • 3

    In this 2016 photo provided by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, INAH, the Iztaccihuatl volcano is seen at night in Mexico State, Mexico. Mexican archaeologists announced on Wednesday, Jan. 3 2018, they have excavated a stone sanctuary in Nahualac Lagoon, on the side of a volcano east of Mexico City that may have been built as a miniature model of the universe. (Isaac Gomez/INAH via AP)

  • In this 2016 photo provided by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, INAH, researchers excavate a site on the shores of Nahualac Lagoon, at the foot of the Iztaccihuatl volcano in Mexico State, Mexico. Mexican archaeologists say they have excavated a stone sanctuary in a pond on the side of a volcano east of Mexico City that may have been built as a miniature model of the universe. (Isaac Gomez/INAH via AP)

  • 1

    In this 2016 photo provided by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, INAH, researchers excavate a site on the shores of Nahualac Lagoon, at the foot of the Iztaccihuatl volcano in Mexico State, Mexico. Mexican archaeologists say they have excavated a stone sanctuary in a pond on the side of a volcano east of Mexico City that may have been built as a miniature model of the universe. (Isaac Gomez/INAH via AP)

  • 2

    In this 2016 photo provided by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, INAH, researchers stand on the shore of Nahualac Lagoon, at the foot of the Iztaccihuatl volcano in Mexico State, Mexico. Mexican archaeologists announced on Wednesday, Jan. 3 2018, they have excavated a stone sanctuary in the lagoon, on the side of a volcano east of Mexico City that may have been built as a miniature model of the universe. (Isaac Gomez/INAH via AP)

  • 3

    In this 2016 photo provided by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, INAH, the Iztaccihuatl volcano is seen at night in Mexico State, Mexico. Mexican archaeologists announced on Wednesday, Jan. 3 2018, they have excavated a stone sanctuary in Nahualac Lagoon, on the side of a volcano east of Mexico City that may have been built as a miniature model of the universe. (Isaac Gomez/INAH via AP)

MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican archaeologists say they have excavated a stone sanctuary in a pond on the side of a volcano east of Mexico City that may have been built as a miniature model of the universe.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History says the remnants of the stone "tetzacualco" were in the center of a natural pond below the Iztaccihuatl volcano at an elevation of nearly 13,000 feet.

In addition to the sanctuary, decorative pieces associated with the rain god Tlaloc were found nearby.

Archaeologist Iris del Rocio Hernandez Bautista says some Mesoamerican creation myths hold that the earth monster Cipactli floated on primeval waters and then split itself, thus creating the heavens and earth. She says the site at Nahualac could emulate that idea.

  

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