Maya and Aztec

Ancient Mesoamerican civilizations

Sun pyramid was the Axis Mundi for Teotihuacan culture

Category: News reports

Mexico, INAH, july 24, 2009. Sun Pyramid was the axis mundi for Teotihuacan culture, a space from which celestial and underworld levels were accessed symbolically. The four directions of the universe parted from here as well, and this scheme was adopted later by Tolteca and Mexica societies when drafting their ceremonial centers.

The later was informed by archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma during his participation at “Teotihuacan, identity and heritage of Mexico” master conference series, taking place in the National Museum of Anthropology (MNA) as part of the 70th anniversary of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) celebrations.

For the INAH emeritus professor that collaborated with the Teotihuacan Project (1962-1964) and directed a special archaeological initiative there in the early 1990s, there are several elements that confirm the sacredness of the Sun Pyramid. These axis mundi buildings face east, present evidence of human sacrifices, are related to water and fertility, are linked to death-life duality, and are surrounded by great platforms that prevent direct entrance to them.

During the archaeological explorations where he participated, it was confirmed that access was restricted: the only entrance was through the Dead Roadway and the frontal staircase, which points out to its sacredness. “We think the Sun Pyramid was the first center of Teotihuacan city. Towards 250 AD, it would be moved to the south, at La Ciudadela and the Feathered Serpent Temple, where the axis mundi patron repeated declared the Colegio Nacional Member.

Teotihuacan was the largest and populated city in America during Prehispanic age, extending for 23 square kilometers and lodging 250,000 persons. This city had a great development from 200 BC to 650 AD.

Regarding the Sun Pyramid sacred connection, Eduardo Matos mentioned there is a 102 meters cave under it, a natural element with important symbolism as a duality sample: a womb that gives birth to people as well as an entrance to the underworld. Channels were found in the cave, bringing in the water and fertility elements.

This conception is found in other places as Tula, where platforms that ended at the great ballgame court were found. The ceremonial center restricted access model was repeated there, where observatory, zompantli, ballgame court and another important building all face orient.

Tenochtitlan adopted previous elements such as dividing the city in 4 quadrants as in Teotihuacan; it was limited by an enormous platform with 78 buildings inside, which, according to Sahagun, was their sacred space. Tlatelolco, its twin city, repeated the same scheme, and is where most rests of the surrounding platform have been located, informed Matos Moctezuma.

Source: INAH.

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