Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | October 5, 2021

Who Was That Masked Person at the Pyramid of the Sun?

Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan by Ruben Hanssen/Unsplash

It maybe sounds like something you’d read in a thriller on the best-selling novel list: a green mask, found inside an ancient building with somewhat mysterious origins. What is the story behind this archaeological find in Mexico that has made news over the last couple of years?

An Old Story, With New Interest

The Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan is no stranger to history. This pyramid is thought to go back to around 100 CE. One of the things that makes this imposing structure stand out is its size, making it Teotihuacan’s biggest building.

This massive size helps the pyramid stand out in a setting where artifacts have been few and far in between. However, archaeologists aren’t known for giving up easily. Researchers dug a tunnel, measuring 380 ft. back during the 1930s that would lead to a stunning new find.

A Mask – and an Ancient Mystery?

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico has explored this area because of the wealth of history to be found. One of their biggest achievements was in 2011, when the researchers found a treasure trove at the level of the mother-rocks.

Some of the natural artifacts included obsidian and animal bones. There were also pottery shards and three human figurines in a serpentine style. However, the green serpentine mask found at this site was unique.

The mask’s lifelike features imply that it is a portrait. This artifact, and the others from the same chamber, are thought to have been placed as part of a ritual. The most likely reason was to celebrate the pyramid’s construction – but who built it?

Who Built the Pyramid of the Sun, Anyway?

Archaeologists have never been able to pinpoint which culture was responsible for building Teotihuacan. Another ting that adds to the mystery is that the original purpose of the pyramid is unknown.

Although the Aztecs occupied the city centuries after it was abandoned, they were not the original residents. Even the structure’s designation as Pyramid of the Sun comes from Aztec usage of the temple.

We don’t know who originally lived in Teotihuacan or what they called the building we know as the Pyramid of the Sun. As many as 200,000 people once lived here, but they would eventually disappear.

What Can We Expect in the Future?

New technology, like electrical resistance technology, has helped shed some light on the larger complex. For example, this technology was helpful in mapping a tunnel underneath the Pyramid of the Moon that is close to the Pyramid of the Sun.

Although archaeologists conduct different types of investigations from what you’d see on a crime show, the anthropological field can crack a lot of cases. You never know what might be next!


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