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A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.
|Location||Teotihuacán, State of Mexico, Mexico|
|Periods||Late Preclassic to Late Classic|
|Architectural details||Feathered Serpent|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Official name||Pre-Hispanic City of Teotihuacan|
|Criteria||Cultural: i, ii, iii, iv, vi|
|Inscription||1987 (11th Session)|
Teotihuacan // , (in Spanish: Teotihuacán) (Spanish pronunciation: [teotiwa'kan](
Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.
Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in North America. It extends from approximately central Mexico through Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica, and within this region pre-Columbian societies flourished before the Spanish colonization of the Americas. In the 16th century, European diseases like smallpox and measles caused the deaths of upwards of 90% of the indigenous people. It is one of five areas in the world where ancient civilization arose independently, and the second in the Americas along with Norte Chico (Caral-Supe) in present-day Peru, in the northern coastal region.
Teotihuacan began as a religious center in the Mexican Highlands around the first century CE. It became the largest and most populated center in the pre-Columbian Americas. Teotihuacan was home to multi-floor apartment compounds built to accommodate the large population.The term Teotihuacan (or Teotihuacano) is also used for the whole civilization and cultural complex associated with the site.
Although it is a subject of debate whether Teotihuacan was the center of a state empire, its influence throughout Mesoamerica is well documented; evidence of Teotihuacano presence can be seen at numerous sites in Veracruz and the Maya region. The later Aztecs saw these magnificent ruins and claimed a common ancestry with the Teotihuacanos, modifying and adopting aspects of their culture. The ethnicity of the inhabitants of Teotihuacan is the subject of debate. Possible candidates are the Nahua, Otomi or Totonac ethnic groups. Scholars have suggested that Teotihuacan was a multi-ethnic state.
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave, is one of the 31 states that, along with the Mexico city, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is Xalapa-Enríquez.
The Aztecs were a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico in the post-classic period from 1300 to 1521. The Aztec peoples included different ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica from the 14th to the 16th centuries. Aztec culture was organized into city-states (altepetl), some of which joined to form alliances, political confederations, or empires. The Aztec Empire was a confederation of three city-states established in 1427, Tenochtitlan, city-state of the Mexica or Tenochca; Texcoco; and Tlacopan, previously part of the Tepanec empire, whose dominant power was Azcapotzalco. Although the term Aztecs is often narrowly restricted to the Mexica of Tenochtitlan, it is also broadly used to refer to Nahua polities or peoples of central Mexico in the prehispanic era, as well as the Spanish colonial era (1521–1821). The definitions of Aztec and Aztecs have long been the topic of scholarly discussion, ever since German scientist Alexander von Humboldt established its common usage in the early nineteenth century.
The Totonac are an indigenous people of Mexico who reside in the states of Veracruz, Puebla, and Hidalgo. They are one of the possible builders of the pre-Columbian city of El Tajín, and further maintained quarters in Teotihuacán. Until the mid-19th century they were the world's main producers of vanilla.
The city and the archaeological site are located in what is now the San Juan Teotihuacán municipality in the State of México, approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) northeast of Mexico City. The site covers a total surface area of 83 square kilometres (32 sq mi) and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico, receiving 4,185,017 visitors in 2017.
Municipalities are the second-level administrative divisions of Mexico, where the first-level administrative division is the state. As of the establishment of two new municipalities in Chiapas in September 2017, there are 2,448 municipalities in Mexico, not including the 16 delegaciones of Mexico City. The internal political organization and their responsibilities are outlined in the 115th article of the 1917 Constitution and detailed in the constitutions of the states to which they belong. Note that municipalities are distinct from cities, a form of Mexican locality, some municipalities as large as states, while cities can be measured in city blocks.
Mexico City, or the City of Mexico, is the capital of Mexico and the most populous city in North America. It is one of the most important cultural and financial centres in the Americas. It is located in the Valley of Mexico, a large valley in the high plateaus in the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 meters (7,350 ft). The city has 16 boroughs.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter. It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.
The name Teōtīhuacān was given by the Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs centuries after the fall of the city around 550 CE. The term has been glossed as "birthplace of the gods", or "place where gods were born", [te.oːtiːˈwakaːn] in Nahuatl, with the accent on the syllable wa. By normal Nahuatl orthographic conventions, a written accent would not appear in that position. Both this pronunciation and Spanish pronunciation: [te.otiwaˈkan] are used, and both spellings appear in this article.reflecting Nahua creation myths that were said to occur in Teotihuacan. Nahuatl scholar Thelma D. Sullivan interprets the name as "place of those who have the road of the gods." This is because the Aztecs believed that the gods created the universe at that site. The name is pronounced
Thelma Dorfman Sullivan was an American paleographer, linguist and translator, regarded as one of the foremost scholars in the 20th century of the Classical Nahuatl language. Significant works include a compendium of Nahuatl grammar (1976), noted as the most comprehensive treatment of its day, and her translation of Bernardino de Sahagún's 16th-century text known as the Primeros Memoriales, completed by colleagues after her death.
Nahuatl, known historically as Aztec, is a language or group of languages of the Uto-Aztecan language family. Varieties of Nahuatl are spoken by about 1.7 million Nahua peoples, most of whom live in central Mexico.
The original name of the city is unknown, but it appears in hieroglyphic texts from the Maya region as puh, or "Place of Reeds".This suggests that, in the Maya civilization of the Classic period, Teotihuacan was understood as a Place of Reeds similar to other Postclassic Central Mexican settlements that took the name of Tollan , such as Tula-Hidalgo and Cholula .
This naming convention led to much confusion in the early 20th century, as scholars debated whether Teotihuacan or Tula-Hidalgo was the Tollan described by 16th-century chronicles. It now seems clear that Tollan may be understood as a generic Nahua term applied to any large settlement. In the Mesoamerican concept of urbanism, Tollan and other language equivalents serve as a metaphor, linking the bundles of reeds and rushes that formed part of the lacustrine environment of the Valley of Mexico and the large gathering of people in a city.
The early history of Teotihuacan is quite mysterious and the origin of its founders is uncertain. Around 300 BCE, people of the central and southeastern area of Mesoamerica began to gather into larger settlements.Teotihuacan was the largest urban center of Mesoamerica before the Aztecs, almost 1000 years prior to their epoch. The city was already in ruins by the time of the Aztecs. For many years, archaeologists believed it was built by the Toltec. This belief was based on colonial period texts, such as the Florentine Codex, which attributed the site to the Toltecs. However, the Nahuatl word "Toltec" generally means "craftsman of the highest level" and may not always refer to the Toltec civilization centered at Tula, Hidalgo. Since Toltec civilization flourished centuries after Teotihuacan, the people could not have been the city's founders.
In the Late Formative era, a number of urban centers arose in central Mexico. The most prominent of these appears to have been Cuicuilco, on the southern shore of Lake Texcoco. Scholars have speculated that the eruption of the Xitle volcano may have prompted a mass emigration out of the central valley and into the Teotihuacan valley. These settlers may have founded or accelerated the growth of Teotihuacan.
Other scholars have put forth the Totonac people as the founders of Teotihuacan. There is evidence that at least some of the people living in Teotihuacan immigrated from those areas influenced by the Teotihuacano civilization, including the Zapotec, Mixtec, and Maya peoples. The builders of Teotihuacan took advantage of the geography in the Basin of Mexico. From the swampy ground, they constructed raised beds, called chinampas, creating high agricultural productivity despite old methods of cultivation.This allowed for the formation of channels, and subsequently canoe traffic, to transport food from farms around the city. The earliest buildings at Teotihuacan date to about 200 BCE. The largest pyramid, the Pyramid of the Sun, was completed by 100 CE.
In January 378, while Spearthrower Owl supposedly ruled in Teotihuacan, the warlord Siyah K'ak' "conquered" Tikal, removing and replacing the Maya king, with support from El Peru and Naachtun, as recorded by Stela 31 at Tikal and other monuments in the Maya region.
In 378 a group of Teotihuacanos organized a coup d'etat in Tikal, Guatemala. This was not the Teotihuacan state; it was a group of the Feathered-Serpent people, thrown out from the city. The Feathered-Serpent Pyramid was burnt, all the sculptures were torn from the temple, and another platform was built to efface the facade ...
In 426, the Copán ruling dynasty was created with K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' as the first king. The Dynasty went on to have sixteen rulers. km north of Copán.Copán is located in modern-day Honduras, as described by Copán Altar Q(???). Soon thereafter, Yax K'uk' Mo' installed Tok Casper as king of Quiriguá, about 50
The city reached its peak in 450 CE, when it was the center of a powerful culture whose influence extended through much of the Mesoamerican region. At its peak, the city covered over 30 km² (over 11 1⁄2 square miles), and perhaps housed a population of 150,000 people, with one estimate reaching as high as 250,000. Various districts in the city housed people from across the Teotihuacano region of influence, which spread south as far as Guatemala. Notably absent from the city are fortifications and military structures.
The nature of political and cultural interactions between Teotihuacan and the centers of the Maya region (as well as elsewhere in Mesoamerica) has been a long-standing and significant area for debate. Substantial exchange and interaction occurred over the centuries from the Terminal Preclassic to the Mid-Classic period. "Teotihuacan-inspired ideologies" and motifs persisted at Maya centers into the Late Classic, long after Teotihuacan itself had declined.However, scholars debate the extent and degree of Teotihuacano influence. Some believe that it had direct and militaristic dominance; others that adoption of "foreign" traits was part of a selective, conscious, and bi-directional cultural diffusion. New discoveries have suggested that Teotihuacan was not much different in its interactions with other centers from the later empires, such as the Toltec and Aztec. It is believed that Teotihuacan had a major influence on the Preclassic and Classic Maya, most likely by conquering several Maya centers and regions, including Tikal and the region of Peten, and influencing Maya culture.
Architectural styles prominent at Teotihuacan are found widely dispersed at a number of distant Mesoamerican sites, which some researchers have interpreted as evidence for Teotihuacan's far-reaching interactions and political or militaristic dominance.A style particularly associated with Teotihuacan is known as talud-tablero , in which an inwards-sloping external side of a structure (talud) is surmounted by a rectangular panel (tablero). Variants of the generic style are found in a number of Maya region sites, including Tikal, Kaminaljuyu, Copan, Becan, and Oxkintok, and particularly in the Petén Basin and the central Guatemalan highlands. The talud-tablero style pre-dates its earliest appearance at Teotihuacan in the Early Classic period; it appears to have originated in the Tlaxcala-Puebla region during the Preclassic. Analyses have traced the development into local variants of the talud-tablero style at sites such as Tikal, where its use precedes the 5th-century appearance of iconographic motifs shared with Teotihuacan. The talud-tablero style disseminated through Mesoamerica generally from the end of the Preclassic period, and not specifically, or solely, via Teotihuacano influence. It is unclear how or from where the style spread into the Maya region. During the zenith main structures of the site, including the pyramids, were painted in dark-red (maroon to Burgundy) colors (only small spots remain now) and were a very impressionable view.
The city was a center of industry, home to many potters, jewelers, and craftsmen. Teotihuacan is known for producing a great number of obsidian artifacts. No ancient Teotihuacano non-ideographic texts are known to exist (or known to have existed). Inscriptions from Maya cities show that Teotihuacan nobility traveled to, and perhaps conquered, local rulers as far away as Honduras. Maya inscriptions note an individual nicknamed by scholars as "Spearthrower Owl", apparently ruler of Teotihuacan, who reigned for over 60 years and installed his relatives as rulers of Tikal and Uaxactun in Guatemala.[ citation needed ]
Scholars have based interpretations about the culture at Teotihuacan on archaeology, the murals that adorn the site (and others, like the Wagner Murals, found in private collections), and hieroglyphic inscriptions made by the Maya describing their encounters with Teotihuacano conquerors. The creation of murals, perhaps tens of thousands of murals, reached its height between 450 and 650. The artistry of the painters was unrivaled in Mesoamerica and has been compared with that of painters in Renaissance Florence, Italy.
Scholars had thought that invaders attacked the city in the 7th or 8th century, sacking and burning it. More recent evidence, however, seems to indicate that the burning was limited to the structures and dwellings associated primarily with the ruling class.Some think this suggests that the burning was from an internal uprising. They say the invasion theory is flawed, because early archaeological work on the city was focused exclusively on the palaces and temples, places used by the upper classes. Because all of these sites showed burning, archaeologists concluded that the whole city was burned. Instead, it is now known that the destruction was centered on major civic structures along the Avenue of the Dead. The sculptures inside palatial structures, such as Xalla, were shattered. No traces of foreign invasion are visible at the site.
Evidence for population decline beginning around the 6th century lends some support to the internal unrest hypothesis. The decline of Teotihuacan has been correlated to lengthy droughts related to the climate changes of 535–536. This theory of ecological decline is supported by archaeological remains that show a rise in the percentage of juvenile skeletons with evidence of malnutrition during the 6th century, which is why there is different evidence that helps indicate that famine is most likely one of the more possible reasons for the decline of Teotihuacan. The majority of their food came from agriculture: They grew things such as maize, beans, amaranth, green tomatoes (tomatillos?), and pumpkins, but their harvest was not nearly sufficient to feed a population as big as it is believed have lived in Teotihuacan. [ citation needed ]This finding does not conflict with either of the above theories, since both increased warfare and internal unrest can also be effects of a general period of drought and famine. Other nearby centers, such as Cholula, Xochicalco, and Cacaxtla, competed to fill the power void left by Teotihuacan's decline. They may have aligned themselves against Teotihuacan to reduce its influence and power. The art and architecture at these sites emulate Teotihuacan forms, but also demonstrate an eclectic mix of motifs and iconography from other parts of Mesoamerica, particularly the Maya region.
The sudden destruction of Teotihuacan was common for Mesoamerican city-states of the Classic and Epi-Classic period. Many Maya states suffered similar fates in the coming centuries, a series of events often referred to as the Classic Maya collapse. Nearby, in the Morelos valley, Xochicalco was sacked and burned in 900 and Tula met a similar fate around 1150.
There is a theorythat the collapse of Teotihuacan was caused by its agriculture being devastated by the 535 CE eruption of the Ilopango volcano in El Salvador.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Teotihuacan was a multi-ethnic city, with distinct quarters occupied by Otomi, Zapotec, Mixtec, Maya, and Nahua peoples.[ citation needed ] The Totonacs have always maintained that they were the ones who built it.[ citation needed ] The Aztecs repeated that story, but it has not been corroborated by archaeological findings.[ citation needed ]
In 2001, Terrence Kaufman presented linguistic evidence suggesting that an important ethnic group in Teotihuacan was of Totonacan or Mixe–Zoquean linguistic affiliation.He uses this to explain general influences from Totonacan and Mixe–Zoquean languages in many other Mesoamerican languages, whose people did not have any known history of contact with either of the above-mentioned groups. Other scholars maintain that the largest population group must have been of Otomi ethnicity, because the Otomi language is known to have been spoken in the area around Teotihuacan both before and after the Classic period and not during the middle period.
In An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya, Miller and Taube list eight deities:
Esther Pasztory adds one more:
The consensus among scholars is that the primary deity of Teotihuacan was the Great Goddess of Teotihuacan.The dominant civic architecture is the pyramid. Politics were based on the state religion; religious leaders were the political leaders. Religious leaders would commission artists to create religious artworks for ceremonies and rituals.The artwork likely commissioned would have been a mural or a censer depicting gods like the Great Goddess of Teotihuacan or the Feathered Serpent. Censers would be lit during religious rituals to invoke the gods including rituals with human sacrifice.
Teotihuacanos practiced human sacrifice: human bodies and animal sacrifices have been found during excavations of the pyramids at Teotihuacan. Scholars believe that the people offered human sacrifices as part of a dedication when buildings were expanded or constructed. The victims were probably enemy warriors captured in battle and brought to the city for ritual sacrifice to ensure the city could prosper.Some men were decapitated, some had their hearts removed, others were killed by being hit several times over the head, and some were buried alive. Animals that were considered sacred and represented mythical powers and military were also buried alive, imprisoned in cages: cougars, a wolf, eagles, a falcon, an owl, and even venomous snakes.
Numerous stone masks have been found at Teotihuacan, and have been generally believed to have been used during a funerary context,although some scholars call this into question, noting that masks "do not seem to have come from burials".
Teotihuacan was a mix of residential and work areas. Upper-class homes were usually compounds that housed many such families, and one compound was found that was capable of housing between sixty and eighty families. Such superior residences were typically made of plaster, each wall in every section elaborately decorated with murals. These compounds or apartment complexes were typically found within the city center. The vast lakes of the Basin of Mexico provided the opportunity for people living around them to construct productive raised beds, or chinampas, from swampy muck, construction that also produced channels between the beds.[ citation needed ]
Different sections of the city housed particular ethnic groups and immigrants. Typically, multiple languages were spoken in these sections of the city.[ citation needed ]
Knowledge of the huge ruins of Teotihuacan was never completely lost. After the fall of the city, various squatters lived on the site. During Aztec times, the city was a place of pilgrimage and identified with the myth of Tollan, the place where the sun was created. Today, Teotihuacan is one of the most noted archaeological attractions in Mexico.[ citation needed ]
In the late 17th century Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (1645–1700) made some excavations around the Pyramid of the Sun.Minor archaeological excavations were conducted in the 19th century. In 1905 Mexican archaeologist and government official, in the regime of Porfirio Díaz, Leopoldo Batres led a major project of excavation and restoration. The Pyramid of the Sun was restored to celebrate the centennial of the Mexican War of Independence in 1910. The site of Teotihuacan was the first to be expropriated for the national patrimony under the Law of Monuments (1897), giving jurisdiction under legislation for the Mexican state to take control. Some 250 plots were farmed on the site. Peasants who had been farming portions were ordered to leave and the Mexican government eventually paid some compensation to those individuals. A feeder train line was built to the site in 1908, which allowed the efficient hauling of material from the excavations and later to bring tourists to the site. In 1910, the International Congress of Americanists met in Mexico, coinciding with the centennial celebrations, and the distinguished delegates, such as its president Eduard Seler and vice president Franz Boas were taken to the newly finished excavations.
Further excavations at the Ciudadela were carried out in the 1920s, supervised by Manuel Gamio. Other sections of the site were excavated in the 1940s and 1950s. The first site-wide project of restoration and excavation was carried out by INAH from 1960 to 1965, supervised by Jorge Acosta. This undertaking had the goals of clearing the Avenue of the Dead, consolidating the structures facing it, and excavating the Palace of Quetzalpapalotl .[ citation needed ]
During the installation of a "sound and light" show in 1971, workers discovered the entrance to a tunnel and cave system underneath the Pyramid of the Sun.Although scholars long thought this to be a natural cave, more recent examinations have established the tunnel was entirely manmade. The interior of the Pyramid of the Sun has never been fully excavated.
In 1980-82, another major program of excavation and restoration was carried out at the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent and the Avenue of the Dead complex. Most recently, a series of excavations at the Pyramid of the Moon have greatly expanded evidence of cultural practices.[ citation needed ]
In late 2003 a tunnel beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent was accidentally discovered by Sergio Gómez Chávez and Julie Gazzola, archaeologists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). After days of heavy rainstorm Gómez Chávez noticed that a nearly three-foot-wide sinkhole occurred near the foot of the temple pyramid.
First trying to examine the hole with a flashlight from above Gómez could see only darkness, so tied with a line of heavy rope around his waist he was lowered by several colleagues, and descending into the murk he realized it was a perfectly cylindrical shaft. At the bottom he came to rest in apparently ancient construction – a man-made tunnel, blocked in both directions by immense stones. Gómez was aware that archaeologists had previously discovered a narrow tunnel underneath the Pyramid of the Sun, and supposed he was now observing a kind of similar mirror tunnel, leading to a subterranean chamber beneath Temple of the Feathered Serpent. He decided initially to elaborate clear hypothesis and to obtain approval. Meanwhile, he erected a tent over the sinkhole to preserve it from the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit Teotihuacán. Researchers reported that the tunnel was believed to have been sealed in 200 CE.
Preliminary planning of the exploration and fundraising took more than six years.
Before the start of excavations, beginning in the early months of 2004, Dr. Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, from UNAM Institute of Geophysics, determined with the help of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and a team of some 20 archaeologists and workers the approximate length of the tunnel and the presence of internal chambers. They scanned the earth under the Ciudadela, returning every afternoon to upload the results to Gómez’s computers. By 2005, the digital map was complete. The archaeologists explored the tunnel with a remote-controlled robot called Tlaloc II-TC, equipped with an infrared camera and a laser scanner that generates 3D visualization to perform three dimensional register of the spaces beneath the temple. A small opening in the tunnel wall was made and the scanner captured the first images, 37 meters into the passage.
In 2009, the government granted Gómez permission to dig. By the end of 2009 archaeologists of the INAH located the entrance to the tunnel that leads to galleries under the pyramid, where rests of rulers of the ancient city might have been deposited. In August 2010 Gómez Chávez, now director of Tlalocan Project: Underground Road, announced that INAH's investigation of the tunnel - closed nearly 1,800 years ago by Teotihuacan dwellers - will proceed. The INAH team, consisted of about 30 persons supported with national and international advisors at the highest scientific levels, intended to enter the tunnel in September–October 2010. This excavation, the deepest made at the Pre-Hispanic site, was part of the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of archaeological excavations at Teotihuacan and its opening to the public.
It was mentioned that the underground passage runs under Feathered Serpent Temple, and the entrance is located a few meters away from the temple at the expected place, deliberately sealed with large boulders nearly 2,000 years ago. The hole that had appeared during the 2003 storms was not the actual entrance; a vertical shaft of almost 5 meters by side is the access to the tunnel. At 14 meters deep, the entrance leads to a nearly 100-meter long corridor that ends in a series of underground galleries in the rock. After archaeologists broke ground at the entrance of the tunnel, a staircase and ladders that would allow easy access to the subterranean site were installed. Works advanced slowly and with painstaking care; excavating was done manually, with spades. Nearly 1,000 tons of soil and debris were removed from the tunnel. There were large spiral seashells, cat bones, pottery, fragments of human skin. The rich array of objects unearthed included: wooden masks covered with inlaid rock jade and quartz, elaborate necklaces, rings, greenstone crocodile teeth and human figurines, crystals shaped into eyes, beetle wings arranged in a box, sculptures of jaguars, and hundreds of metallized spheres. The mysterious globes lay in both the north and south chambers. Ranging from 40 to 130 millimetres, the balls have a core of clay and are covered with a yellow jarosite formed by the oxidation of pyrite. According to George Cowgill of Arizona State University, the spheres are a fascinating find: "Pyrite was certainly used by the Teotihuacanos and other ancient Mesoamerican societies. Originally, the spheres would have shown brilliantly. They are indeed unique, but I have no idea what they mean."All these artifacts were deposited deliberately and pointedly, as if in offering to appease the gods.
One of the most remarkable findings in the tunnel chambers was a miniature mountainous landscape, 17 metres underground, with tiny pools of liquid mercury representing lakes.The walls and ceiling of the tunnel were found to have been carefully impregnated with mineral powder composed of magnetite, pyrite (fool's gold), and hematite to provide a glittering brightness to the complex, and to create the effect of standing under the stars as a peculiar re-creation of the underworld. At the end of the passage, Gómez Chávez’s team uncovered four greenstone statues, wearing garments and beads; their open eyes would have shone with precious minerals. Two of the figurines were still in their original positions, leaning back and appearing to contemplate up at the axis where the three planes of the universe meet - likely the founding shamans of Teotihuacan, guiding pilgrims to the sanctuary, and carrying bundles of sacred objects used to perform rituals, including pendants and pyrite mirrors, which were perceived as portals to other realms.
After each new segment was cleared, the 3D scanner documented the progress. By 2015 nearly 75,000 fragments of artifacts have been discovered, studied, cataloged, analyzed and, when possible, restored.
The significance of these new discoveries is publicly explored in a major exhibition at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, which opened in late September 2017.
As of January 23, 2018 the name "Teotihuacan" has come under scrutiny by experts, who now feel that the site's name may have been changed by Spanish colonizers in the 16th century. Archaeologist Veronica Ortega of the National Institute of Anthropology and History states that the city appears to have actually been named "Teohuacan", meaning "City of the Sun" rather than "City of the Gods", as the current name suggests.
The city's broad central avenue, called "Avenue of the Dead" (a translation from its Nahuatl name Miccoatli), is flanked by impressive ceremonial architecture, including the immense Pyramid of the Sun (third largest in the World after the Great Pyramid of Cholula and the Great Pyramid of Giza). Pyramid of the Moon and The Ciudadela with Temple of the Feathered Serpent Quetzalcoatl are placed at the both ends of Avenue while Palace-museum Quetzalpapálot, fourth basic structure of site, situated between two main pyramids. Along the Avenue are many smaller talud-tablero platforms also. The Aztecs believed they were tombs, inspiring the name of the avenue. Scholars have now established that these were ceremonial platforms that were topped with temples.[ citation needed ]
The Avenue of the dead is roughly forty meters wide and four Kilometers long.Further down the Avenue of the Dead, after small river, is the area known as the Citadel, containing the ruined Temple of the Feathered Serpent Quetzalcoatl. This area was a large plaza surrounded by temples that formed the religious and political center of the city. The name "Citadel" was given to it by the Spanish, who believed it was a fort. Most of the common people lived in large apartment buildings spread across the city. Many of the buildings contained workshops where artisans produced pottery and other goods.
The urban layout of Teotihuacan exhibits two slightly different orientations, which resulted from astronomical criteria, rather than topographic. The central part of the city, including the Avenue of the Dead, conforms to the orientation of the Sun Pyramid, while the southern part reproduces the orientation of the Ciudadela. The two constructions recorded sunrises and sunsets on particular dates, allowing the use of an observational calendar. During the time of 100 A.D., “the sunrises on February 11 and October 29 and sunsets on April 30 and August 13. The interval from February 11 and October 29, as well as from August 13 to April 30, is exactly 260 days”.The recorded dates are in multiples of 13 and 20 days, which align with the traditional Mesoamerican calendar. Furthermore, the Sun Pyramid is aligned to Cerro Gordo to the north, which means that it was purposefully built there to witness the sunrises on these specific dates along the horizon of the hills. The artificial cave under the pyramid additionally attests to the importance of this spot.
The fact that both orientations belong to alignment groups that are widespread in Mesoamerica can only be explained with the use of astronomical references at the horizon. Teotihuacan belongs to the E-Group, meaning that the alignment of their structures are in order to organize a calendar from the sunrises and sunsets of solstices, proving that the placement of the structures did not rely heavily on topographic criteria, but rather on astronomical alignments.An example of the rejection of the natural lay of the land is the placement of the San Juan River, as its placement was modified to bend around the structures as it goes through the centre of town eventually to return to its natural course outside of Teotihuacan.
Given that the E-Group were all in the same general region of Mesoamerica, means their calendar was used for agricultural purposes. The E-Group’s significance of the four main dates of their calendric year was for the purpose of agriculture. These dates signified the cycle of maize farming: February was for preparations, May brought rain which meant it was time to plant the maize, August was when the maize would begin to grow, and November was the time to harvest. This 260-day calendar was made by the Aztecs and was called the tonalpohualli.
Pecked-cross circles throughout the city and in the surrounding regions served as a way to design the urban grid, and as a way to read their 260-day calendar. The urban grid had great significance to city planners when constructing Teotihuacan, as the cross is pecked into the ground in the Pyramid of the Sun in specific places throughout Teotihuacan in precise degrees and angles over three kilometres in distance. The layout of these crosses suggest it was there to work as a grid to the layout of Teotihuacan because they are laid out in a rectangular shape facing the Avenue of the Dead. These crosses point to the direction of rising and setting sun during the solstices, showing another way the seasons were observed. Some of the crosses marked the Tropic of Cancer, which also places significance in the position of the sun. The direction of the axes of the crosses don’t point to an astronomical North and South direction, but instead point to their own city’s North. This was to ensure the people of Teotihuacan could see the skyline without any obstructions. Numerology also has significance in the cross pecking because of the placement and amount of the holes, which count to 260 days, which was the Aztec’s traditional calendar.Some of the pecked-cross circles also resemble an ancient Aztec game called, patolli.
These pecked-cross circles can be found not just in Teotihuacan, but also throughout Mesoamerica. The ones found all share certain similarities. These include, having the shape of two circles, one being inside of the other. They are all found pecked on the ground or onto rocks. They are all created with a small hammer-like device that produces cuplike markings that are 1 centimetre in diameter and 2 centimetres apart. They all have axes that are in line with the city structures of the region. Because they are aligned with the structures of the cities, they also align with the position of significant astronomical bodies.
The Ciudadela was completed during the Miccaotli phase, and the Pyramid of the Sun underwent a complex series of additions and renovations. The Great Compound was constructed across the Avenue of the Dead, west of Ciudadela. This was probably the city’s marketplace. The existence of a large market in an urban center of this size is strong evidence of state organization. Teotihuacan was at that point simply too large and too complex to have been politically viable as a chiefdom.
The Ciudadela is a great enclosed compound capable of holding 100,000 people. About 700,000 cubic meters (yards) of material was used to construct its buildings. Its central feature is the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, which was flanked by upper class apartments. The entire compound was designed to overwhelm visitors.[ citation needed ]
The archaeological park of Teotihuacan is under threat from development pressures. In 2004, the governor of Mexico state, Arturo Montiel, gave permission for Wal-Mart to build a large store in the third archaeological zone of the park. According to Sergio Gómez Chávez, an archaeologist and researcher for Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) fragments of ancient pottery were found where trucks dumped the soil from the site.
More recently, Teotihuacan has become the center of controversy over Resplandor Teotihuacano, a massive light and sound spectacular installed to create a night time show for tourists.Critics explain that the large number of perforations for the project have caused fractures in stones and irreversible damage, while the project will have limited benefit.
The Mesoamerican ballgame was a sport with ritual associations played since 1400 BC by the pre-Columbian people of Ancient Mesoamerica. The sport had different versions in different places during the millennia, and a newer more modern version of the game, ulama, is still played in a few places by the indigenous population.
The Great Goddess of Teotihuacan is a proposed goddess of the pre-Columbian Teotihuacan civilization, in what is now Mexico.
Xochicalco is a pre-Columbian archaeological site in Miacatlán Municipality in the western part of the Mexican state of Morelos. The name Xochicalco may be translated from Nahuatl as "in the house of Flowers". The site is located 38 km southwest of Cuernavaca, about 76 miles by road from Mexico City. The site is open to visitors all week, from 10 am to 5 pm, although access to the observatory is only allowed after noon. The apogee of Xochicalco came after the fall of Teotihuacan and it has been speculated that Xochicalco may have played a part in the fall of the Teotihuacan empire.
"Spearthrower Owl" is the name commonly given to a Mesoamerican personage from the Early Classic period, who is identified in Maya inscriptions and iconography. It has been suggested that Spearthrower Owl was a ruler of Teotihuacan at the start of height of its influence across Mesoamerica in the 4th and 5th century, and that he was responsible for the introduction of Teotihuacan-related cultural traits in the Maya area.
Mesoamerican chronology divides the history of prehispanic Mesoamerica into several periods: the Paleo-Indian, the Archaic, the Preclassic or Formative, the Classic (250–900CE), and the Postclassic, Colonial (1521–1821), and Postcolonial (1821–present). The periodization of Mesoamerica is based on archaeological, ethnohistorical, and modern cultural anthropology research. The endeavor to create cultural histories of Mesoamerica dates to the early twentieth century, with ongoing work by archeologists, ethnohistorians, historians, and cultural anthropologists.
The Pyramid of the Moon is the second largest pyramid in modern-day San Juan Teotihuacán, Mexico, after the Pyramid of the Sun. It is located in the western part of the ancient city of Teotihuacan and mimics the contours of the mountain Cerro Gordo, just north of the site. Cerro Gordo may have been called Tenan, which in Nahuatl, means "mother or protective stone." The Pyramid of the Moon covers a structure older than the Pyramid of the Sun which existed prior to 200 AD.
Mesoamerican pyramids or pyramid-shaped structures form a prominent part of ancient Mesoamerican architecture. Although similar to each other in some ways these New World structures with their flat tops and their stairs bear only a very weak architectural resemblance to Egyptian pyramids. The Mesoamerican region's largest pyramid by volume – the largest pyramid in the world by volume – is the Great Pyramid of Cholula, in the east-central Mexican state of Puebla. The builders of certain classic Mesoamerican pyramids have decorated them copiously with stories about the Hero Twins, the feathered serpent Quetzalcoatl, Mesoamerican creation myths, ritualistic sacrifice, etc.written in the form of hieroglyphs on the rises of the steps of the pyramids, on the walls, and on the sculptures contained within.
El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan, is a Mesoamerican step-pyramid that dominates the center of the Chichen Itza archaeological site in the Mexican state of Yucatán. The building is more formally designated by archaeologists as Chichen Itza Structure 5B18.
Kukulkan is the name of a Mesoamerican serpent deity. Prior to the Spanish Conquest of the Yucatán, Kukulkan was worshipped by the Yucatec Maya peoples of the Yucatán Peninsula, in what is now Mexico. The depiction of the Feathered Serpent is present in other cultures of Mesoamerica. Kukulkan is closely related to the deity Qʼuqʼumatz of the Kʼicheʼ people and to Quetzalcoatl of Aztec mythology. Little is known of the mythology of this Pre-Columbian era deity.
The Temple of the Feathered Serpent is the third largest pyramid at Teotihuacan, a pre-Columbian site in central Mexico. This structure is notable partly due to the discovery in the 1980s of more than a hundred possibly sacrificial victims found buried beneath the structure. The burials, like the structure, are dated to between 150 and 200 CE. The pyramid takes its name from representations of the Mesoamerican "feathered serpent" deity which covered its sides. These are some of the earliest-known representations of the feathered serpent, often identified with the much-later Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. "Temple of the Feathered Serpent" is the modern-day name for the structure; it is also known as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Feathered Serpent Pyramid.
The Pyramid of the Sun is the largest building in Teotihuacan, believed to have been constructed about 200 CE, and one of the largest in Mesoamerica. Found along the Avenue of the Dead, in between the Pyramid of the Moon and the Ciudadela, and in the shadow of the massive mountain Cerro Gordo, the pyramid is part of a large complex in the heart of the city.
Mesoamerican architecture is the set of architectural traditions produced by pre-Columbian cultures and civilizations of Mesoamerica, traditions which are best known in the form of public, ceremonial and urban monumental buildings and structures. The distinctive features of Mesoamerican architecture encompass a number of different regional and historical styles, which however are significantly interrelated. These styles developed throughout the different phases of Mesoamerican history as a result of the intensive cultural exchange between the different cultures of the Mesoamerican culture area through thousands of years. Mesoamerican architecture is mostly noted for its pyramids which are the largest such structures.
Río Azul is an archaeological site of the Pre-Columbian Maya civilization. It is the most important site in the Río Azul National Park in the Petén Department of northern Guatemala, close to the borders of Mexico and Belize. Río Azul is situated to the southeast of the Azul river and its apogee dates to the Early Classic period.
Talud-tablero is an architectural style most commonly used in platforms, temples, and pyramids in Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, becoming popular in the Early Classic Period of Teotihuacan. Talud-tablero consists of an inward-sloping surface or panel called the talud, with a panel or structure perpendicular to the ground sitting upon the slope called the tablero. This may also be referred to as the slope-and-panel style.
Cholula was an important city of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, dating back to at least the 2nd century BCE, with settlement as a village going back at least some thousand years earlier. The site of Cholula is just west of the modern city of Puebla and served as a trading outpost. Its immense pyramid is the largest such structure in the Americas, and the largest pyramid structure by volume in the world.
The Feathered Serpent was a prominent supernatural entity or deity, found in many Mesoamerican religions. It was called Quetzalcoatl among the Aztecs, Kukulkan among the Yucatec Maya, and Q'uq'umatz and Tohil among the K'iche' Maya.
Quetzalcoatl is a deity in Mesoamerican culture and literature whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and means "feathered serpent" or "Quetzal-feathered Serpent". The worship of a Feathered Serpent is first documented in Teotihuacan in the first century BC or first century AD. That period lies within the Late Preclassic to Early Classic period of Mesoamerican chronology, and veneration of the figure appears to have spread throughout Mesoamerica by the Late Classic period (600–900 AD).
Painting in the Americas before European colonization is the Precolumbian painting traditions of the Americas. Painting was a relatively widespread, popular and diverse means of communication and expression for both religious and utilitarian purpose throughout the regions of the Western Hemisphere. During the period before and after European exploration and settlement of the Americas; including North America, Central America, South America and the islands of the Caribbean, the Bahamas, the West Indies, the Antilles, the Lesser Antilles and other island groups, indigenous native cultures produced a wide variety of visual arts, including painting on textiles, hides, rock and cave surfaces, bodies especially faces, ceramics, architectural features including interior murals, wood panels, and other available surfaces. Many of the perishable surfaces, such as woven textiles, typically have not been preserved, but Precolumbian painting on ceramics, walls, and rocks have survived more frequently.
The use of mirrors in Mesoamerican culture was associated with the idea that they served as portals to a realm that could be seen but not interacted with. Mirrors in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica were fashioned from stone and served a number of uses, from the decorative to the divinatory. An ancient tradition among many Mesoamerican cultures was the practice of divination using the surface of a bowl of water as a mirror. At the time of the Spanish conquest this form of divination was still practiced among the Maya, Aztecs and Purépecha. In Mesoamerican art, mirrors are frequently associated with pools of liquid; this liquid was likely to have been water.
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