MEXICO CITY – An aqueduct 110 meters (360 feet) long and 5 meters (16 feet) high, built in the mid-19th century and which remained hidden under vegetation for many years, was discovered in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, the national archaeological authority said.
The discovery was made during the work of clearing the land, whose owner reported it to the Linares municipal government, which in turn asked the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) to get involved and make an evaluation of it.
Architect Benjamin Valdez Fernandez of INAH in Nuevo Leon, leader in the task of authenticating the discovery, said that “it is a very important find.”
“We have nothing similar in Nuevo Leon in terms of the dimensions and construction” of this well preserved hydraulic work that has 33 arches of the Tudor type, ogive,” he said.
The aqueduct begins at ground level like an irrigation ditch, but as the land begins to slope downward, a series of arches is formed to support the channel that carried water to the end, where there was a waterwheel and a sugarcane mill, INAH said.
Valdez said it is believed to have been built around 1860 due to the fine sandstone construction and smooth finish of its walls.
“A very interesting feature of the construction, which we believe to have been done by Jesuits, is it 33 arches, a very important number in religious imagery. According to the Catholic faith, Jesus died on the cross at age 33, and 33 is the number of years that David reigned over the ancient Kingdom of Israel,” the researcher said.
As for the state of the aqueduct, he said that just a few stones have fallen from three of the 33 arches, which need major restoration, while the rest of the construction requires only maintenance.