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An eerie "entrance to Hell" has been discovered by archaeologists who exhumed deceased priests deep in the ground where an ancient structure still stands.
The chilling find was made beneath a Mexican church in Mitla, near to Oaxaca, where a web of corridors and a labyrinth of ancient intrigue lies.
Used frequently by the Zapotec culture, the labyrinth is believed to have been a construction of the "cloud merchants", as their indigenous name infers.
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Spanish conquests in 1521 put an end to the 2200 years of use as the Zapotec culture used the area as a church, although the origins of the structure date back much further.
Settlers from Spain took over the area and plonked a Catholic church on top of the structure, which has since been dug into and coughed up some disturbing finds.
A major discovery was what the Zapotec people believed was the doorway to hell, a world of the dead passage which could be accessed through the main altar of their church.
Now, teams from the Mexican National Institute of History and Anthropology are using geophysical scanning to map the tunnels and figure out where the entrance to hell lies, Metro reported.
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They are joined by the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the ARX Project, who are collaborating as they chart the construct which is 16 to 26 feet below ground.
An announcement from the joint excavation read: "In 1674, the Dominican father Francisco de Burgoa described the exploration of the ruins of Mitla and their subterranean chambers by a group of Spanish missionaries.
"Burgoa’s account speaks of a vast subterranean temple consisting of four interconnected chambers, containing the tombs of the high priests and the kings of Teozapotlán."
Those "interconnected chambers" could be the key to finding the tombs, after the labyrinth entrances were sealed hundreds of years ago.
The announcement continued: "From the last subterranean chamber, a stone door led into a deep cavern extending thirty leagues below ground. This cavern was intersected by other passages like streets, its roof supported by pillars.
"According to Burgoa, the missionaries had all entrances to this underground labyrinth sealed, leaving only the palaces standing above ground."
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