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墨西哥城的秘密地下世界

Mexico City's secret underground world
墨西哥城的秘密地下世界

As we descended 7m below Mexico City’s Metropolitan Cathedral, I could feel my heart race. I had heard whisperings about the temples buried under this iconic cathedral – one of the largest and oldest in Latin America ­– but since their discovery in the 1970s, it had not been possible to see them. Now, I was part of a public tour that lets visitors explore the ancient secrets that lie just below this church’s depths.

当我们从墨西哥城大教堂(Metropolitan Cathedral)走下7公尺深的地底,我能感觉到自己的心跳。这座大教堂是拉丁美洲最大且最古老的教堂,我早已听到人们传说这座标志性大教堂下有古老神庙存在,但自从20世纪70年代这个地下世界被发现以来,没人能亲眼见证。现在,终于对外公开,让游客能深入教堂的地下探索中美洲古老的秘密。而我有幸成为游客之一。

Nearly 500 years after Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés toppled the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán, the remains of the ancient metropolis continue to lay hidden mere metres under modern-day Mexico City. The Spanish started building the Metropolitan Cathedral in 1573 above the sacred Aztec (or as they called themselves, “Mexica”) temples as a symbol of their conquest.

在西班牙征服者赫尔南·科尔特斯(Hernan Cortes)攻陷阿兹特克帝国的首府特诺奇蒂特兰城(Tenochtitlan)近500年之后,这个阿兹特克人帝国首府的古老遗迹仍然隐藏在现代墨西哥城的地下仅几公尺深处。阿兹特克人自称为“墨西加人”。1573年,西班牙人开始在阿兹特克帝国至圣的大神庙上方建造基督教大教堂,作为他们征服阿兹特克帝国的象征。

When electrical workers accidentally discovered a giant monolith close to the cathedral in 1978, it spurred a five-year excavation that unearthed the Mexica’s spectacular Templo Mayor (“Great Temple”). The discovery and old Spanish records of the Mexica capital’s layout enabled archaeologists to determine that there may be many more pre-Hispanic buildings buried nearby. It also inspired a series of ongoing excavations that continue to unearth new clues about the Mexica’s way of life. Today, many of Mexico City’s more than 21 million residents go about their lives while walking just above the remains of the Mexica city waiting to be uncovered below.

1978年,墨西哥城的电工在大教堂附近偶然发现了一块巨大的石碑,从而促使人们花了五年时间挖掘出了阿兹特克帝国雄伟的大神庙(Templo Mayor)遗迹。这一发现和西班牙人有关特诺奇蒂特兰古城布局的历史记载,使考古学家确定附近区域的地下可能还埋藏着更多前西班牙时代的建筑。这也激发了一系列迄今仍在进行的考古发掘工作,继续探寻古墨西加人生活方式的新线索。今天的墨西哥城有2100多万居民,其脚下是等待着被挖掘出土的特诺奇蒂特兰古城遗迹。

I held my breath as we made our way down the spiral staircase, exhaling only once my eyes saw the Temple of Tonatiuh, the god of the sun. Tonatiuh was the godly governor in what the Mexica referred to as “the era of the fifth sun” – a period still unfolding that is predicted to end in destruction by earthquake. Given the city’s recent history with quakes, this was a destabilising thought to digest while underground. Nearby, sits the fully intact Piedra Chalchihuitl stone, with a stylised glyph that translates as “the place of the precious or sacred”.

在我们一行人沿着螺旋型梯级往下而行之时,我屏声敛息,只在眼神扫视到托纳提乌神庙时才大大呼出一口气。托纳提乌是阿兹特克人崇拜的太阳神,为他们所称的“第五太阳世纪”的神圣统治者。按墨西加人的传说,第五太阳世纪至今仍在继续中,预计将以地震带来的毁灭而告终。考虑到这座城市最近的地震史,身处地下,再想到第五太阳世纪的末日预言,还真的有点令人心悸。神庙附近坐落着完整无缺的查尔基霍特尔(Piedra Chalchihuitl)绿松石石碑,石碑上刻着非写实的象形文字“珍贵或神圣之地”。

Since 1991, the Urban Archaeology Program (PAU), led by archaeologist Raúl Barrera Rodríguez, has been working nonstop to excavate an area of 500 sq m (about seven blocks of Mexico’s city centre) in order to rediscover Tenochtitlán. Today, whenever workers repair water pipes or install electric cables underground in Mexico City’s centre, by law, the National Institute of Anthropology and History has to be informed so that archaeologists can supervise the proceedings.

考古学家劳尔·巴雷拉·罗德里格斯领导的城市考古计划(PAU)自1991年以来,一直在不停地挖掘大约墨西哥市中心七个街区500平方公尺的土地,以重新发现被埋葬的特诺奇蒂特兰古城。现今,工人要在墨西哥城市中心修理地下水管或安装地下电缆,根据法律,都必须知会国家人类学和历史研究所,以便考古学家监督他们的地下施工。

“The law gives precedence to archaeology,” said Dr Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, the archaeologist who directed the excavation at El Templo Mayor, starting in 1978. While this makes things complicated for work crews, it ensures that any ancient artefacts are protected.

考古学家爱德华多·马托斯·蒙特祖马(Eduardo Matos Moctezuma)博士,从1978年开始一直在主持大神庙的发掘工作。他说,“法律赋予考古优先于施工的特权。”虽然这条法律给施工人员带来麻烦,但确保了所有古迹都能得到保护。

Findings in the city centre continue to be revealed. A renovation of a building behind the cathedral in 2015 led archaeologists from PAU to uncover el gran tzompantli: a 35m-long skull rack that once had wooden posts where the Mexica displayed the skulls of their sacrificial victims. Over two years of excavations that concluded in 2017, nearly 700 skulls were uncovered, as well as a base with postholes where wooden skull-filled stakes would have been displayed.

在市中心的考古挖掘工作陆续有发现。2015年大教堂后面的一座建筑进行翻修时,城市考古计划的考古学家发现了一座骷髅头骨墙,长达35米。曾经是木架子,墨西加人在木架上挂满他们活人献祭的受害者头颅。经过两年多的发掘,于2017年结束时,共发现了近700个人牲头骨,以及一个有孔洞的坑,据信是原放置头骨木架的地方。

In 2017, archaeologists called to a renovation of a hotel in the city’s historic centre discovered an ancient ball court, where the Mexica sent heavy rubber balls flying from end to end using just their hips  during the Juego de Pelota (“Ball Game”). And earlier this year, a number of sacrificial offerings – including the skeleton of a boy dressed as Huitzilopochtli, the Mexica war god – were discovered by the steps of the Templo Mayor. Jaguar bones and layers of shells and coral were also recovered, leading archaeologists to believe that they might be close to finding the tomb of Ahuitzotl, the Mexica emperor who reigned from 1486 to 1502.

2017年,墨西哥城历史遗迹中心区域一家酒店要进行翻新,被召去先作考古勘察的考古学家发现了一个古老的球场。在墨西加人的球赛(Juego de Pelota)期间,参加比赛的球员在这个球场,仅用臀部就能让沉重的橡胶球从一端踢到另一端。今年早些时候,大神庙的台阶上发现了一些被献祭的人牲遗骸,包括一位装扮成墨西加战神Huitzilopochtli的男孩骨架。此外还发现了美洲虎的残骨、多层的贝壳和珊瑚,这让考古学家认为他们可能是找到阿兹特克帝国的皇帝阿惠特佐特尔的坟墓。这位墨西加人皇帝在位时间是1486年到1502年。

Barrera is hopeful that agreements will be reached with the owners of the buildings that stand above both the ball court and the tzompantli so that these vestiges may be on display to the public “in subterranean museums” soon. Since 2018, every Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 14:00, visitors like myself have been able to descend below the cathedral to see the remains of the temples. This tour, run by the cathedral’s guides, helps generate funds for the church while offering visitors an insight into the secret world below one of Mexico City’s most well-known landmarks. (Tickets can be bought from the information desk on the right-hand side as you enter the cathedral.)

巴雷拉希望能与球场和骷髅墙之上的建筑物的所有者达成协议,让这些历史遗迹可以在地下博物馆向公众开放展示。2018年开始,每逢周一、周二和周五的14:00,像我这样的游客就可以到大教堂下面参观大神庙遗址。由大教堂的导游带队的参观可帮助教堂筹集资金,同时也让游客深入了解墨西哥城这个最著名的地标在地下的秘密世界。你进入大教堂时,可以在右手边的服务台购买参观票。

Elsewhere, Mesoamerican vestiges can be found in some unusual places in Mexico City. When changing subway lines in the Metro Pino Suárez station, for example, you’ll pass a pyramid dedicated to Ehécatl, the Mexica god of the wind. On your way out of an underground car park at a shopping centre in the area of Tlatelolco, the site of another Mesoamerican city some 4km from the historic centre, you’ll spot another pyramid also venerating Ehécatl through a viewing window.

另外,在墨西哥城的一些不寻常的地方也可以发现中美洲原住民的遗迹。例如,当你在地铁皮诺苏亚雷斯站换乘地铁时,你会经过一座祭拜墨西加风神埃赫卡特的金字塔。距离墨西哥城的历史中心区域约4公里的特拉特洛尔科(Tlatelolco)区,前身是另一座前西班牙时代的中美洲城邦,如你从该区一个购物中心的地下停车场走出来,你可从一个观景窗看见另一座祭拜风神的金字塔。

Thanks to the records left by the Spanish conquistadors, as well as detailed chronicles written by several Franciscan friars and Mexica diarists, archaeologists have a good sense of where buried Mexica temples and artefacts may be located. Some of the most important information has come from the writings of friar Bernardino de Sahagún in the 16th Century, who described some 78 temples in central Tenochtitlán. “What Sahagún wrote is astonishing because, at an archaeological level, we have been able to find all of what he described,” said Barrera.

根据西班牙征服者留下的记录,以及几位方济会修士撰写的详细编年史和一些墨西加人所写的日记,考古学家对被掩埋的墨西加神庙和历史遗迹有了很好的认识。一些最重要的信息来自16世纪方济会修士贝纳迪诺·德萨哈贡的名著《新西班牙事物通史》,他描述了特诺奇蒂特兰城中心的78座神庙。巴雷拉说,“德萨哈贡的记载令人震惊,因为从考古的角度来看,凡是他所记载的,我们能够找到。”

Nevertheless, even if you know what might be underneath you, excavating in a city like Mexico’s capital is not easy. The Mexica built their grand urban centre on a small island in the middle of a lake. In some parts of the city, “at 5m deep we have water,” explained Barrera. This waterlogged soil means much of the city centre is sinking some 5-7cm per year – and in some areas as much as 40cm per year. And since certain modern structures are built atop ancient Mesoamerican platforms and structures, it means that not all the city is sinking at the same rate. Just wander around the historic centre and you can see rows of buildings tilting at different angles.

不过,即或你知道脚下埋藏着什么,但在墨西哥首都这样的一座城市进行考古挖掘也不是一件易事。当年墨西加人是在一座湖的中央小岛上建造了宏伟的特诺奇蒂特兰城。巴雷拉解释说,现墨西哥城的一些地方,“5公尺深的地方就是水。”地下土层被水浸透意味着市中心的大部分地区每年要下沉约5至7公分,有些地区甚至每年下沉多达40公分。由于某些现代建筑是建在前西班牙时代之中美洲的地基和建筑物之上,这即是说,墨西哥城并非全城都以同样的速度下沉。漫步在墨西哥城历史中心区域,你可以看到一排排的建筑物向不同角度倾斜。

“A number of years ago there was a problem,” Matos explained. “The cathedral started to sink… and the walls started to break because there were pre-Hispanic edifices underneath.” This kind of occurrence, although destructive for colonial buildings and fraught with challenges, can also be helpful to archaeologists, as it helps them identify where Mesoamerican remains might be found.

马托斯解释说,“几年前出了一个问题。大教堂开始下沉……墙壁开始出现裂缝,因为地下面有前西班牙时代的建筑。”地基下沉虽然对殖民时期的建筑造成了破坏,也对保养维修提出了挑战,但对考古学家却是有帮助的,因为这能帮助考古学家确定原中美洲建筑遗址所处位置。

“We can see cracks [in buildings],” said Barrera “and we know if we follow those cracks, we might find a pyramid.” Archaeologists have been able to follow these small fractures “to excavate… and locate the buildings that [were] provoking the [cracking],” explained Matos.

巴雷拉说,“我们可以看到建筑物墙身上的裂缝。我们知道,要是顺着这些裂缝走下去,我们可能会发现一个金字塔。”马托斯解释说,考古学家们已经能够顺着这些微细裂缝进行挖掘,并找到引发裂缝的建筑物的位置。

Rather than just chasing cracks, however, new technologies are helping archaeologists make more discoveries. “When we started in 1978, we used theodolites [an instrument used for mapping vertical and horizontal angles],” Matos said. “Now, 3D scanners are used.” Barrera explained that ground-penetration radar is also used to help archaeologists detect what lies beneath the surface of Mexico City’s central streets and plazas. However, Barrera also described how traditional excavation is still often needed to “corroborate what the information and the geophysical scanners show.” The layers of history under the city mean that scanners might appear to find something pre-Hispanic when, in fact, they have landed on a relic from colonial times. Therefore, the only way to be sure is to roll up your sleeves and dig.

然而,新技术正在帮助考古学家进行更多的发现,而不仅仅是依靠裂缝提供的线索。马托斯说,“我们在1978年开始考古挖掘时,使用的是经纬仪。” 经纬仪是一种测量垂直和水平角度的仪器。他说,“现在,我们使用三维度扫描仪。”巴雷拉解释说,考古学家还使用可穿透地表的雷达技术来探测墨西哥城中心街道和广场地下之状态。不过巴雷拉也讲述为何仍然需要传统的考古挖掘工作来证实历史资料和地球物理扫描仪所显示的内容。这座城市地下累积了多层历史遗迹,这意味经三维扫描仪扫描后发现了一些东西,会以为是前西班牙时代的墨西加人留下的,而实际上,最终发现原来是西班牙殖民时代的遗迹。“因此,唯一确定的方法就是卷起袖子去挖掘。”
 

It might seem to some that excavating a busy city that’s sinking and is prone to earthquakes is more trouble than it is worth. However, such naysayers “are negating their own history,” said Matos. After all, these excavations have helped reveal that modern-day Mexico City bares many similarities to ancient Tenochtitlán.

在一些人看来,挖掘一个正在下沉的、容易发生地震的繁华城市似乎不值得,是自找麻烦。不过马托斯反驳他们说,这些反对者“是在否定他们自己的历史”。毕竟,考古发掘有助于揭示现代墨西哥城与特诺奇蒂特兰古城有诸多雷同之处。

Many of the historic buildings at the core of today’s sprawling metropolis serve the same function as they did almost 700 years ago. There’s the Spanish cathedral built atop the Mexica temple; while Mexico’s National Palace, where the current president lives, stands above the ruins of the palace of Moctezuma II, the long-standing Mexica emperor who was killed in the early stages of the Spanish conquest. “It is very important because it remains the seat of power, from Moctezuma II to today,” said Barrera. “It is very symbolic.”

在今天这个不断扩张的大都市的中心地带,许多历史建筑的功能与近700年前的竟然相同。西班牙大教堂正建在墨西加大神庙之上;而现任总统居住的墨西哥国家宫则矗立在蒙特祖马二世皇宫的废墟之上。蒙特祖马二世统治阿兹特克帝国长达18年,在西班牙征服阿兹特克帝国的初期被墨西加人杀死。马托斯说,国家宫位置非常重要,因为从蒙特祖马二世到今天,一直是国家权力中心。这一点很有象征意义。

Barrera also described how a university was built where a Mesoamerican school once stood, and the Mexica city would have had a central plaza that played much the same role as the modern Zócalo. “We still have the Mexica present in our daily lives,” he explained.

巴雷拉还说,今天一所大学就建在前西班牙时代一所学校所在位置,而墨西加人的城市也会有一个中心广场,扮演着与今天现代的宪法广场差不多的作用。他解释道,“在我们的日常生活中,墨西加人仍然存在。”

It’s quite incredible to imagine that a city founded in 1325 would have so much in common with the chaotic megalopolis of today, but one thing is for sure: a Mesoamerican heartbeat still pulses just under the surface of modern-day Mexico City.

难以想象一座建于1325年的古城会与今天熙熙攘攘的大都市有如此之多的共同点,但有一件事是肯定的:现代墨西哥城在其外表下,仍然跳动着一颗中美洲原住民的心。
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