Evidence suggests the Pyramid of the Moon outlined Teotihuacan’s urban design

INAH and UNAM experts found a natural cave beneath the Pyramid of the Moon

Evidence suggests the Pyramid of the Moon outlined Teotihuacan’s urban design
The Pyramid of the Moon is the second main structure in Teotihuacán - Photo: Mauricio Marat/INAH
English 29/07/2020 17:15 Mexico City Actualizada 19:17

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Researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have posed the possibility of the Pyramid of the Moon being the point of departure for Teotihuacán’s urban design.

The 20 meters wide hole is located at the center of the current structure and is oriented toward the Cerro Gordo, as explained by researchers Denisse L. Argote Espino and Verónica Ortega Cabrera.

In an article published by the Journal of Archeological Science, which is focused on the dissemination of scientific techniques and methodologies applied on archeology, the experts mentioned that three decades ago, it was thought that the cave under the Sun Pyramid was of natural origin, which could have had an influence on the first settlers to choose the place where the religious center would be constructed. Nevertheless, more recent studies have confirmed its origin is artificial.

In the article, the experts also mentioned it was necessary to consider that Building 1 (100 B.C. and 50 A.D.), that is, the first of several construction stages of the Pyramid of the Moon, represents the earliest known Teotihuacan monument so far, prior to the urban plan observed nowadays.

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In its first stage, the building “had a modest size and was related to the myth of the sacred mountain symbolized by the nearby Cerro Gordo. The first three construction stages were done by the front of the structure and under the Terraced Platform; later on, the pyramid was extended until it covered the aforementioned cave, so there is another question regarding whether the location of that cave influenced the successive expansions of the Pyramid of the Moon,” they said.

Through the electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) method, the team of experts – comprised of - Andrés Tejero, Martín Cárdenas, Gerardo Cifuentes, René E. Chávez, Esteban Hernández-Quintero, and Alejandro García— confirmed on mid-2017 the existence of a cave or cave system at some 15 meters from the pyramid’s subsoil.

The cave, which is 20 meters wide and that is located approximately 15 meters deep, is located toward the current center of the Pyramid of the Moon and oriented toward the Cerro Gordo, which seems to confirm its symbolic relationship. The cave seems to be more centered toward the fourth through seventh construction stages of the pyramid, architectonic expansions that were done between 150 and 450 A.D.

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