The Rome of America: What Lies Under Teotihuacan? – The Real City of the Gods

The Rome of America: What Lies Under Teotihuacan? – The Real City of the Gods

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Monumental sculptured façade on the Western side of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents.

Monumental sculptured façade on the Western side of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents. (Photo by Author Marco M. Vigato)

Not only are we here confronted with some truly gigantic monoliths, but also the type of stone and workmanship appear to be entirely different and far superior to any of the other exposed sections of the pyramid’s stone casing.  

South-West corner of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents, where the older construction phase and several megalithic stone blocks are visible under the later “adosada” platform.

South-West corner of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents, where the older construction phase and several megalithic stone blocks are visible under the later “adosada” platform. (Photo by Author Marco M. Vigato)

Silence From Academia

For their location in an area which is normally off-limits to visitors, these monoliths have been, so far, seldom published or considered in guides or publications on Teotihuacan. There seems, moreover, to be a general academic silence concerning their age, stylistic differences, and original collocation.

Curious Monoliths

The megalithic stone blocks, many of which are covered in sculptures, appear to have been thrown in no particular order as filling material for the construction of the main pyramid body, which is believed to date to the 2nd century AD. Among these are some colossal serpent heads, over two meters (6.5 feet) in length and weighting an estimate of 4 tons, and also some curious U-shaped monoliths, with a weight probably in excess of 10 tons. Their general workmanship is extremely accurate, with complex concave and convex surfaces and perfectly planar sides.

The rock in which the larger megalithic stone blocks were carved is a kind of highly compact gray andesite. A petrographic study of similar colossal andesite sculptures from Teotihuacan by Robert Heizer and Howell Williams pointed to the most likely source of the andesite employed at Teotihuacan as Mount Tlaloc, in the vicinity of the Pueblo of San Miguel Coatlinchan— a distance of 25 kilometers (15.5  miles) from the ceremonial site. This is certainly the source of the stone used for the largest monolith found in situ at Teotihuacan, the colossal Diosa del Agua or “Water Goddess”, which is estimated to weigh over 25 tons.

Based on stylistic analogies with the other Teotihuacan monoliths, Heizer and Williams also concluded that an immense, unfinished sculpture found in the quarry near Coatlinchan was meant to be transported to Teotihuacan. The statue, known as the monolith of Coatlinchan, is one of the largest in the Americas, with an estimated weight of over 200 tons. It is 7.1 meters (23.2 feet) long, 3.8 meters (12.4 feet) wide and four meters (13.1 feet) thick. Its transportation to Mexico City (where it now stands in front of the National Museum of Anthropology) in 1964 required a specially designed 112-wheeled tractor. If finished, the sculpture would have been carried on rafts across the lake of Texcoco, and then on rollers or sledges until its final destination.

The great monolith of Coatlinchan still in the quarries, before its removal and transportation to Mexico City.

The great monolith of Coatlinchan still in the quarries, before its removal and transportation to Mexico City. (Source: Robert F. Heizer, Howell Williams, Stones used for colossal sculpture at or near Teotihuacan, Contributions of the University of California Archaeological Research Facility, 1965)

The unfinished state of the monolith of Coatlinchan and of the countless megalithic stone blocks that lie scattered around the site of Teotihuacan are suggestive of the sudden arrival and departure of a very technically advanced elite: Over the following centuries, construction resumed and continued at Teotihuacan, although in much cruder form, recycling many of the megalithic stones and structures left behind by the original builders.  

Megalithic stone blocks scattered in the vicinity of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents at Teotihuacan

Megalithic stone blocks scattered in the vicinity of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents at Teotihuacan. (Photos by Author Marco M. Vigato)

Megalithic stone blocks scattered in the vicinity of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents at Teotihuacan

Megalithic stone blocks scattered in the vicinity of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents at Teotihuacan. (Photos by Author Marco M. Vigato)

Megalithic stone blocks scattered in the vicinity of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents at Teotihuacan.

Megalithic stone blocks scattered in the vicinity of the pyramid of the Feathered Serpents at Teotihuacan. (Photos by Author Marco M. Vigato)

A Hidden Underworld?

Megaliths and colossal sculptures may be not the only remains left behind by the original builders of Teotihuacan, for a vast network of tunnels extends under much of the ancient site. The reality of this vast and still largely unexplored network has only recently come to light. In a following article, we will explore a portion of these tunnels in search of traces left behind by its still mysterious builders.  

Marco M. Vigato has travelled extensively across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, South-East Asia, North and South America and  is an independent researcher into ancient mysteries and megalithic civilizations. His expeditions and photographs dedicated to ancient history, adventure travel and archaeology can be found at Uncharted Ruins .

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