Even cotton ropes tied around the bouquets have survived.
Scientists have found four whole bouquets in a tunnel under the Feathered Serpent Temple in Teotihuacan, Mexico. According to The History blog, the bouquets have been preserved in excellent condition, even with cotton threads tied around the stems.
It is noted that the flowers have not yet been radiocarbon dated, but the chronology of the use of the tunnel and other artifacts found near the bouquets indicate that they were collected in the 1st or 2nd century AD.
Botanical material in such excellent condition was discovered for the first time. In addition to flowers, scientists also found corn seeds, beans, chili peppers, pumpkin seeds and prickly pear seeds. Scientists have carefully removed a leaf from one of the bouquets in order to understand the purpose of the plants.
The tunnel under the Temple of the Feathered Serpent was discovered in 2003 when torrential rains exposed a crater in front of the temple. It led to an underground passage several hundred meters long, which led to three chambers. They were filled with earth and stones and were sealed around 1700 and 1800 years ago. According to scientists, the tunnel symbolized the underworld.
Exploration of the tunnel began in 2009, during which time scientists have discovered many artifacts and organic remains. The offerings found in the tunnel were very valuable and included imported goods. So, researchers found jade, amber, rubber, cocoa beans, as well as skins and bones of animals that did not live in this area: wolves and pumas.
Now scientists have found flowers that were located behind what was previously thought to be the end of the tunnel. When a group of researchers reached the edge, they found that it extended several more meters down the slope. In the same place, archaeologists found charcoal, as well as charred seeds and fruits that remained after the ritual of burning sacrifices. In addition, a sculpture with unusual features was discovered that could have been an incense smoker.
The flowers were cleaned and preserved in a tunnel to preserve them in an environment that has kept them safe for two thousand years.