Teotihuacan

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Information about Teotihuacan
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Published on November 21, 2007

Author: Sabatini

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Teotihuacan:  Teotihuacan Middle to Late Fromative/PreClassic (500 B.C.-300 A.D.) Basin of Mexico City of Teotihuacan Middle to Late Formative (Pre-Classic) 500 B.C.-300 A.D.:  Middle to Late Formative (Pre-Classic) 500 B.C.-300 A.D. Considered one of the most outstanding periods of change. More complex socio-political society. Population increase Development of large concentrated centers. Increase in ceremonial and public works. Basin of Mexico- Geography and Ecology:  Basin of Mexico- Geography and Ecology Location about 40 km northeast of Mexico City archaeological zone of about 200 hectares Teotihuacan Valley Valley of Mexico (8000 sq km) characterized by lake system small "sub-valley" defined by low ranges of hills 500 sq km with altitude of over 2200 m overlooked by Cerro Gordo volcano (strategic location) passage to and from Valley of Mexico access to obsidian sources permanent springs rich, irrigable alluvial plain other resources salt from Lake Texcoco limestone to northwest clay for pottery Slide4:  http://www.ancientmexico.com/content/map/tenochtitlan.html History of research at Teotihuacan A.D. 1200-1950 :  History of research at Teotihuacan A.D. 1200-1950 Early history name of the site means "abode of the gods" in Nahuatl real name of site and culture is unknown Aztecs believed site had been built by a race of giants Bones of mammoths found nearby Tepexpan man found in 1947 two imperial mammoths found in 1952-54 near Santa Isabel Iztapán Leopoldo Batres began work at site in 1905 under pressure to restore Pyramid of the Sun for centenary of Mexican independence in 1910 restoration has five intermediary platforms History of research con’d:  History of research con’d Mexican Revolution 1910, Porfirio Díaz lost election to Francisco Madero refused to leave and became object of popular rebellion after revolution, archaeology became an integral part of public policy new nationalism and pride for things Indian Teotihuacan became a national symbol Manuel Gamio major explorations of site in 1917 restored Temple of Quetzalcoatl and Citadel Sigvald Linnc Swedish archaeologist excavated at site from 1932-1935 unearthed first palace residences found conglomeration of 175 rooms around network of corridors encompassing 4000 sq yds interpreted two large houses as shelter for pilgrims f> responsible for revealing urban nature of site Later Investigations:  Later Investigations Laurette Sjourn French-born Mexican archaeologist excavated at site from 1955-1957 found Palace of Zacuala under bean field covered 5000 sq yds lavish murals with iconography ancestral to later works interpreted site as cradle of Nahuatl civilization Ignacio Bernal Mexican archaeologist directed National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) excavations from 1960-1964 restoration campaign made possible by President Adolfo L¢pez Mateos also opened National Museum of Anthropology in 1964 site intensively excavated in 1962-1964 Avenue of the Dead cleared of debris plaza in front of Pyramid of the Moon cleared and refurbished highway built for access to the site (opened 1964) Later Investigations con’d:  Later Investigations con’d Ren Millon University of Rochester made exploratory survey in region north of Pyramid of the Moon in 1957 found major extension of building zone noted large mounds arranged in plazas concluded site had been a major city mapping project mapped 8 sq mi (20 sq km) identified over 500 craft workshops, more than 200 ceramic workshops, stoneworking, shell, and figurine loci located 2600 major structures over 8 sq mi William Sanders Pennsylvania State University undertook ecological study concurrent with mapping project worked together with Jeffrey Parsons, Richard Blanton, and associates found evidence of terracing and irrigation argued Teotihuacan was "a true city" Teotihuacan:  Teotihuacan Founding of the City Valley settled as early as 900 B.C., but no large settlement until 300 B.C. Populated by people from mountains to the east (Tlaxcala). Several reasons for population move: caves which are related to religion and mythology. humans, sun and moon came from center of the earth. entrance to the Underworld. network of caves and tunnels under the Pyramids of the sun and the moon. close obsidian resources. nearby springs for irrigation. Architecture:  Architecture Site layout precise gridwork pattern General construction techniques Lime plaster technique for burning limestone probably introduced from Yucatan and Guatemala burning probably contributed to drying of climate creation of plaster may have led to ecological disaster Cerro Gordo Stephen Tobriner found passage in 1580 report to Philip II which is earliest Western reference to Teotihuacan mentions noise of water in large mountain (Cerro Gordo) noted that Cerro Gordo, a volcano, had a thin vertical shaft that emitted air and the noise of water traveling underground conjectured that Teotihuacanos believed mountain was the source of water Slide11:  http://www.ancientmexico.com/content/map/teotihuacan.html Talud-Tablero Construction:  Talud-Tablero Construction Sloping component called talus Cantilevered vertical panel, tablero, framed by rectangular moldings Effect is that of a box hung on a pyramid Talus shadowed by tablero Tablero appears to float on cushion of shadow Form is unstable, with tendency to collapse. Teotihuacan-The Citadel:  Teotihuacan-The Citadel Slide14:  The Citadel, or Ciudadela with the Temple of the Feathered Serpent in the center. http://www.ancientmexico.com/content/map/teot-citadel.html Temple of Quetzalcoatl:  Temple of Quetzalcoatl Chronology construction of type dating prior to AD 300 sculptured facade revealed beneath later construction reconstructed between 1917-1920 Construction core made of piers built of slabs shafts in between filled with dirt more rapid filling out of final shape with earth Temple of Quezalcoatl:  Temple of Quezalcoatl 137 people buried there were apparently sacrificed, their hands tied behind their backs, during the construction of the pyramid. Many wore collars composed of imitation human maxillae with teeth carved from shell, as well as several real maxillae and mandibles, and were deposited in the pits with more than 2,100 pieces of worked shell and numerous obsidian blades and points. http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/mexico/ Bird-Butterfly (QuetzalpapÝlotl) Palace:  Bird-Butterfly (QuetzalpapÝlotl) Palace Discovered in 1962 by Mexicans directed by Jorge Acosta chronology one of latest buildings at site roof had collapsed, beams burnt, suggesting disaster Construction enclosed courtyard, resembling medieval cloister may represent habitation of warrior society richly decorated rooms with stucco floors roofs once supported by small wooden beams 5" in diameter Artwork reliefs represent owl of warfare and quetzal Temple of Quetzalcoatl:  Temple of Quetzalcoatl The Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent in the Cuidadela. The temple has a talud /tablero design incorporated on the facade. The Serpent and Tlaloc reliefs on the Temple surface :  The Serpent and Tlaloc reliefs on the Temple surface http://www.ancientmexico.com/content/map/teot-relief.html Note resemblance of Tlaloc god to Jaguar in Olmec art Tlaloc-God of Rain:  Tlaloc-God of Rain Pyramid of the Sun:  Pyramid of the Sun Chronology largest and oldest construction at site sherds and figurines in fill are of Late Formative dates this and a few adjoining platforms were sole monumental architecture at site for several centuries Form 61 meters tall one of tallest and largest in North America until 20th century broad staircase focus of building single flight divides into two and then merges again may have functioned as backdrop for rituals and public events attendants going up stairs would have vanished and reappeared Pyramid of the Sun:  Pyramid of the Sun Construction probably had perishable superstructure made of horizontal layers of clay faced with unshaped stones Batres' reconstruction criticized, but 19th century paintings show five distinct levels Cave discovered by Jorge Acosta during installation of Light and Sound equipment in 1971 near center of pyramid ceramics indicate use from Late Formative through Classic chamber with layout resembling four-leaf clover Later Aztecs claimed to have come from "Chicomoztoc" or Seven Caves chambers may have been revered by Aztecs Orientation east faces 1530' north of west sun sets on axis with building on day of zenith passage (June 21) pyramid faces the setting sun governs axial arrangement of other buildings at site Pyramid of the Sun:  Pyramid of the Sun Slide25:  The Pyramid of the Sun viewed from the north. This massive structure is the largest pyramid in Mesoamerica and is more massive than the Great Pyramid in Egypt. http://www.ancientmexico.com/content/map/templesun.html Avenue or Way of the Dead:  Avenue or Way of the Dead Known as "Miccaotli" to Aztecs Orientation runs north-south oriented 1525' east of north complimented by secondary axis, East and West Avenues which together, divide city into quadrants Size 130 ft wide about a mile and a half long Construction changes elevation up and down stairs at several points commands attention as architectural form in its own right lined on both sides by more than 75 temples and small platforms only partially reconstructed Chronology at least two older layers of construction beneath present platforms roadway connected nothing afforded axial order, without leading from one place to another Avenue of the Dead:  Avenue of the Dead Detail of Paradise of Tlaloc at the Palace of Tepantitla:  Detail of Paradise of Tlaloc at the Palace of Tepantitla The miniture temple in the center of Atetelco Plaza. :  The miniture temple in the center of Atetelco Plaza. Temple of the Quetzal Butterfly:  Temple of the Quetzal Butterfly Courtyard of the Temple of the Quetzal Butterfly:  Courtyard of the Temple of the Quetzal Butterfly Façade of Temple of Quetzalcoatl:  Façade of Temple of Quetzalcoatl Mural from the Palace of Tepantitla:  Mural from the Palace of Tepantitla Pyramid of the Moon:  Pyramid of the Moon Chronology built after Pyramid of the Sun construction of type used before AD 300 Construction core made of piers built of slabs shafts in between filled with dirt more rapid filling out of final shape with earth Pyramid of the Moon:  Pyramid of the Moon Slide36:  The Pyramid of The Moon viewed from the south. This temple is the second largest structure at the site. http://www.ancientmexico.com/content/map/templemoon.html Tomb in Pyramid of the Moon:  Tomb in Pyramid of the Moon The grave, which dates to about A.D. 150, is associated with pyramid's fourth construction phase. Seen today is the fifth and last, built ca. A.D. 250. The remains may be that of a royal retainer and a royal tomb may be at the center of the pyramid, but excavation is difficult because it involves tunneling into the pyramid. http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/mexico/ Slide38:  http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/mexico/ Artifacts in tomb:  Artifacts in tomb Greenstone figure earspools Bird & and animal remains:  Bird & and animal remains The remains of eight hawks or falcons, including this one, were found in the tomb along with the bones of two jaguars. http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/mexico/ Water Goddess:  Water Goddess Painter’s Palatte:  Painter’s Palatte Small Clay heads from Molds:  Small Clay heads from Molds Polychrome Bowl:  Polychrome Bowl Polychrome Ceremonial Vessel:  Polychrome Ceremonial Vessel Funerary Mask of Turquoise and Coral:  Funerary Mask of Turquoise and Coral Residential compounds:  Residential compounds more than 2000 discovered through site mapping identified as apartment complexes by Millon probably housed 60-100 people in different households may represent cognatic kin groups may have favored rapid expansion of craft economy one-story structures, surrounded by high stone walls Construction common size was 50-60 meters square planned and built in single operation patios had drains to carry off excess rainwater networks of drains carried water into streets often stone-lined, indications of prior planning and construction surfaced with concrete lacking lime interior walls and floors surfaced with plaster interiors divided into rooms, patios, and passageways divided by stone or adobe walls each compound has one or more temple platforms kitchen floors identified Population size:  Population size Population size estimated by Millon at 125,000 may have reached 200,000 at maximum was sixth largest city in the world in AD 600 Decline:  Decline During the period from 600-900 A.D. Site not abandoned, but population decreased. Some buildings burned between 600-700 A.D. may be symbolic as in the case of the Olmec destroying heads, associated with the loss of power. Empty by the time the Aztecs come around 3 centuries later.

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