Archaeologists found Colonial remains dating from the sixteenth century as well as 500 to 1,000 year-old Toltec and Mexica ruins underneath the atrium of the San Jose Cathedral in Tula.
American archaeologist Shannon Dugan, endorsed by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, made the discovery while conducting an investigation about early Franciscan settlements in the region.
Dugan now directs the excavation at the former convent of San Jose to determine the chronology of successive levels of occupation at the site.
After two months of digging, Dugan said the occupation at the newly discovered site is similar to that of an open Franciscan Chapel found within the archaeological site of Tula.
“There are a lot of outstanding things in spite of the fact we haven’t excavated much here. On one side we have found the same pattern here we had over there (open Chapel). Over there we have buildings or Toltec features modified by the Aztecs and on top of those, Colonial structures. We have the same thing here. That’s very interesting to me because I didn’t expect to find Aztec features here,” Dugan said.
The Toltecs were a war-like pre-Aztec civilization. Based in the ancient city of Tula, about 50 miles north of Mexico City, they flourished until the late 12th century, influencing much of Mexico from the southwestern United States down to the Gulf of Mexico and Central America.
Tula is best known today for its fearsome 15-foot-high (4.5 meter) stone warrior figures.