Large sculpture of the God of Fire found atop Mexico's Pyramid of the Sun

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH - Conaculta) found, at the peak of Pyramid of the Sun, the biggest Huehueteotl (Old God or God of Fire) sculpture in Teotihuacan, Estado de Mexico; they also found two complete green stone stelae and a fragment of another one, which must have decorated the temple that crowned this construction 1,500 years ago.

Large sculpture of the God of Fire found atop Mexico's Pyramid of the Sun
This spectacular discovery, together with the 1906 finding of a brazier and various sculptural symbols from the sacred ceremony of New Fire above the semi platform, could indicate that the Pyramid of the Sun was a scenario for cults dedicated to fire and the end of calendar cycles [Credit: INAH]
Archaeologist Alejandro Sarabia whom, together with his colleague, PhD Saburo Sagiyuma from the Provincial University of Aichi (Japan), has been developing since 2005 the Pyramid of the Sun Project, informed that the pieces where found inside a well that possibly dates back to the end of the V century or the beginning of the VI century of our era.

The temple, which existed at the peak of the pyramid, was destroyed by Teotihuacan’s people during this period, but some architectonic elements –much like the stelae– where left in place. Sarabia and his team consider that the well was excavated in pre Hispanic times in order to recover the main offering of the construction. This was an act that demystified the construction; also, ancient Teotihuacans spread the main offering in other public buildings of the ancient city.

Archaeologist Nelly Zoe Nuñez Rendon, another investigator of the Pyramid of the Sun Project, who is responsible for the excavations at the top of the construction, said that the excavations’ initial objective was to locate the last movement of the bodies.

This spectacular discovery, together with the 1906 finding of a brazier and various sculptural symbols from the sacred ceremony of New Fire above the semi platform, could indicate that the Pyramid of the Sun was a scenario for cults dedicated to fire and the end of calendar cycles.

All the stelea are smooth. The first one –2.56 meters [8.38 feet] long and 955 kilos [2105.41 pounds] (the biggest green stone monolith of the 20 that have been registered in Teotiuacan)–, was found 4.30 meters deep; the second one –1.40 meters [4.59 feet] long and 300 kilos [661.3 pounds]–, was discovered in the first week of last December, close to the end of the 2012 season of exploration.

Said season of archaeological exploration, carried out from June to December 2012, was performed in order to clear doubts about the construction system and the actual date of the great pyramid which measures 214.6 meters [704.06 feet], 215.2 meters [706.03 feet], 215.7 meters [707.67 feet] and 210.5 meters [690.61 feet] at the base in the north, east, south and west sides respectively.

It’s worth mentioning that between 2008 and 2010, using a 116 meters [380.57 feet] long tunnel –excavated between 1919 and 1931–, INAH investigators located, with strategic wells, three previous structures to the Pyramid of the Sun, and two rich material deposits, one of these being the consecration offering of the building that dates back to the end of the I century of the beginning of the II.

“In this space –detailed archaeologist Alejandro Sarabia– they registered over 200 thousand materials: shells, snail shells, slate (the biggest ones in Teotihuacan) and pyrite discs, eleven Tlaloc pots, a green stone mask, 40 gray obsidian objects (projectile tips, knives and anthropomorphic figurines), the osseous remains of a jaguar, a dog and an eagle. Basically, this was what a dedication offering was composed of.”

The 2012 season of the project was also focused on other spaces of the pyramid, such as its base, close to the northeastern corner, to define the place of contact between the construction plaza and the wall that surrounds the building. Also, they excavated two small stairs from the first body, the point of this being to find evidence of the original decoration, which they did, in the form of a sculpture, remains of a slope and its original board, all of which came from the V century of our era.

Source: INAH via Art Daily [February 14, 2013]

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