Tonina Pyramid, Largest Pyramid in Mexico

Researchers confirm that recently discovered Tonina Pyramid is Largest Pyramid in Mexico

(Read the article on one page)

It was just over five years ago that researchers in Mexico discovered an enormous pyramid of the Maya civilization in Toniná,  Chiapas. The fact that the pyramid had remained concealed under what was believed to be a natural hill for around 1,700 years is truly incredible, particularly considering that it has been confirmed as the largest pyramid in Mexico and is even taller than Teotihuacan’s enormous Pyramid of the Sun.

The pyramid, which measures 75 meters (246 feet) in height, was first excavated by archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in 2010.

La Jornada reports that it was found during explorations of the acropolis of Toniná in what is now the Mexican state of Chiapas. The archaeological site of Toniná sits on a platform covering 6 hectares and consists of seven terraces on the north side of the platform which rise above a plaza. Social, political, economic, and religious structures were constructed on the terraces, including housing, administrative units, and groups of temple-pyramids. There is also a ballgame court at the site, and over 100 carved monuments dating from the 6 th to the 9 th centuries AD.

Toniná has been described as an aggressive state that used warfare to develop a powerful kingdom that rivalled Palenque. Toniná eventually became the dominant city in the west of the Maya region.

The Acropolis of Toniná, occupying seven terraces upon a hillside.

The Acropolis of Toniná, occupying seven terraces upon a hillside. ( Wikimedia Commons )

Emiliano Gallaga, director of the archaeological zone, told La Jornada that the pyramid was covered in vegetation and was initially believed to be a natural hill. However, exploration of the site soon revealed that the structure was almost entirely man-made, constructed by the ancient Maya inhabitants of Toniná.

Three-dimensional scanning of the pyramid revealed that it was “one of the largest constructions in Mesoamerica, comparable in size only to great Mayan cities like Tikal and El Mirador in Guatemala,” said Gallaga. “Toniná is bigger than we suspected. The pyramids are connected by roads located on top of the surrounding elevations.”

The scale of the pyramid at Tonina is comparable in size only to the great Maya cities of Guatemala, such as Tikal. Pictured here, the central acropolis at Tikal.

The scale of the pyramid at Tonina is comparable in size only to the great Maya cities of Guatemala, such as Tikal. Pictured here, the central acropolis at Tikal. Image Source: Simon Danhauer / Fotolia

Gallaga added that, after evaluating all the information gathered from exploratory studies, it can be confirmed that the pyramid exceeds the height of the Pyramid of the Sun at  Teotihuacan, which previously held the position as the tallest pyramid in Mexico at 65 meters (213 feet) in height.

Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan

Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan ( Wikimedia Commons )

Featured image: Overview of the northern part of the acropolis of Tonina, Chiapas Photo DMC INAH / H. Montaño

By April Holloway

Comments

angieblackmon's picture

So did each of these different cities fight against each other, or where they united as a whole? Who were they being aggressive against?

 

love, light and blessings

AB

Tsurugi's picture

I think it was the Aztec empire they were fighting....?

Tonina was a city of the Mesoamerican Classic which existed long before the Aztec. It was contemporary with the the Aztec's Central Mexican forebears, the Teotihuacanos of Teotihuacan. The Aztec were a Post-Classic empire.

After the fall of Teotihuacan and the Classic Maya City States, Mesoamerica went into a brief Dark Age before the rise of the Toltecs in the Valley of Mexico and the founding of Maya City States in the Northern Lowlands of Yucatan.

Maya Cities fought against each other. Tonina's biggest rival city was Palenque.

Impresive size !

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Human Origins

Celtic Creation Myth – Eiocha and the one tree.
Creation myths are like bubbles of time, and when you pop one, stories of how prehistoric cultures interacted with each other, and nature, are found. Celtic mythology, more so than most folkloric systems, offers a perspective on how people interacted with the land and sea during different seasons of the year.

Ancient Technology

Mammoth in the Royal BC Museum in Victoria (Canada). The display is from 1979, and the fur is musk ox hair.
In Sivershchina, close to the village of Mizyn in Ukraine is one of the oldest and most unique settlements of humans – and it was discovered in a parking lot. The now well-known archaeological site, known plainly as the Mizyn parking lot, dates back 18-20 thousand years.

Ancient Places

The highly-decorated tomb is built in a distinctive ‘L’ shape
A mysterious ancient tomb with “unusual and rare” wall paintings has been discovered in Egypt. Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Enany told BBC reporters the discovery of a 4,400-year-old tomb found during excavation work in Giza’s western cemetery “likely belonged to Hetpet, a priestess to Hathor, the goddess of fertility, who assisted women in childbirth.”

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article