November 29, 2012
Temple of the Sun
By Jorge Perez De Lara
Archaeology November/December 2005
Thinking about Mexico’s Pre-Columbian past one might think about the enormous Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan. In 1905, is when Mexico had their first official excavation. The nation’s icon has also helped mirror how the country itself has changed and developed over the years. The Pyramid of the Sun is one of the tallest structures in the Americas. Teotihuacan was one of the world’s biggest cities and it had an enormous impact for Mesoamerica for at least four centuries. Then somewhere around A.D this city-state collapsed in a violent end. The Aztec or Mexica gave the site the name Teotihuacan: Place Where Men Become Gods. Between 1810 and 1821, Mexico went through a war of independence that finally allowed it to break free from Spain. Mexico was always being torn apart by factional wars and was then too preoccupied with survival to pay much attention to its ancient history. In 1905, Leopoldo Batres, was directly commissioned by the Diaz regime to carry out the country’s first government-sponsored archaeological project, specifically at the Pyramid of the Sun. Batres over-restored the Pyramid of the Sun, but he has been charged with having used dynamite to expedite the clearing of fallen debris. In 1919, starting from the Pyramid of the Sun’s east side; an exploratory tunnel was cut deep into the pyramids center. The purpose of the tunnel was to learn more about the techniques of the pyramid’s construction. Thirteen years after the first tunnel, another deep tunnel was cut into the pyramid, this time staring at the building’s west side. No treasures were found. It was built using a complex structure of stepped stone inner walls, most of the Pyramid of the Sun consists of compacted mud, reinforced with wooden poles and possibly built on an inward sloping firm base. Excavation at the Pyramid of the Sun ceased for several decades...