New Data and New Perspectives of the Feathered Serpent Symbolism and Polity at Teotihuacan

Author(s): Saburo Sugiyama

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Tales of the Feathered Serpent: Refining Our Understanding of an Enigmatic Mesoamerican Being" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Intensive excavations carried out by the Proyecto Templo de Quetzalcoatl more than 20 years ago suggested that the pyramid symbolized human sacrifice, warfare, and rulership in Teotihuacan. The lack of a royal tomb inside the building indicated that more than 200 warriors were sacrificed in dedication to the monument itself. The recent discovery of the ancient tunnel under the Feathered Serpent Pyramid by Sergio Gomez substantially progressed our understanding of the Teotihuacan state polity and the Feathered Serpent symbolism. In this presentation I provide contextual and diachronic overview of the use and distribution of Feathered Serpent images, including related Venus-Tlaloc icons and discuss how they contained socio-political implications for Mesoamerican people. I also examine the Citadel’s architectural layout and the spatial distribution of artifacts referencing the Feathered Serpent in the dedicatory chambers to argue Teotihuacan was controlled by powerful individualistic rulership. This is indicated by the city-wide ceremonial construction programs materializing Mesoamerican worldview in an early stage of the metropolis. Primary excavation data reinforce the hypothesis that the Citadel was the headquarters of ruling entities and military institutions, where state-sponsored sacrificial rituals and occasional accession ceremonies took place and the royal grave was once located.

Cite this Record

New Data and New Perspectives of the Feathered Serpent Symbolism and Polity at Teotihuacan. Saburo Sugiyama. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450957)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24367