Primacy of the Cave at the Sun Pyramid, Teotihuacan

Author(s): Rebecca Sload

Year: 2015


Multiple lines of evidence indicate that the cave determined the definition of the Sun Pyramid. As the earliest monumental construction at Teotihuacan, it is hypothesized that the Pyramid/cave was built within a pan-Mesoamerican worldview that valued the mountain cave, including acknowledging artificial caves as caves, pyramids as mountains, and sacred space as created via engineered spatial relationships. Ceramics and radiocarbon dates indicate contemporaneous construction of and modification to cave and Pyramid. Contemporaneity at the outset reinforces that they were an unit, a mountain cave. It is in modification, however, that the clearest evidence is found. The decision to close the cave appears to have prompted changes to the Pyramid, whose spatial relationships to the cave suggest purposes significant to it. Pyramid modifications are hypothesized as also redefining the Pyramid sans cave. Interpretation of the meanings of changes to the cave and Pyramid is reinforced by finds from recent re-excavation of a 1933 tunnel on the east-west centerline of the Pyramid at its base. In all cases, events appear driven by the cave.

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Cite this Record

Primacy of the Cave at the Sun Pyramid, Teotihuacan. Rebecca Sload. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395437)


Caves Teotihuacan

Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;