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How did an ancient canoe end up beneath Mexico City?

What does it reveal about why the city is sinking?

In Mexico City, in 1956, contractors digging the foundation for a new expressway unearthed an ancient canoe perfectly preserved underground.

This was not surprising to those who know that in the era of the Aztecs, the city was comprised of human-made islands in the center of a lake.

Instead of roads, the water city had canals.  People and goods moved by canoe.

In the broadcast episode, we visit a place where a small part of the water city has been preserved.

We discover that the Aztecs had not only discovered how to turn a lake into a city, but how to create a city that could feed itself.

In other words, they had created a city that we would call “sustainable.”

Today, no one would call Mexico City sustainable.  Its citizens struggle to solve problems of pollution, gridlock, and water shortages.  And if that’s not bad enough… because the original lake was drained long ago, the city is sinking.

What did the ancient Aztecs know about sustainability that we have forgotten?


All is revealed in Museum Secrets: Inside Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology.

Further Questions

We invite you to visit the Guardian to discover Why is Mexico City Sinking?


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