Pyramid inside a pyramid inside another pyramid. Shutterstock.

Here Are 3 Ancient Pyramids Built on Top of Older Pyramids

Like ancient Russian Dolls, ancient pyramid builders sometimes built pyramids on top of even older pyramids.


Thousands of years ago, an ancient culture built a pyramid on top of a pyramid and another pyramid.

Pyramids are amazing, and their general purpose has eluded understanding giving rise to a debate that has been going on for decades.


Were pyramids tombs? Were they ‘fake’ tombs? Or was their purpose a far greater one than serving as the eternal resting place of ancient kings?

The truth is, we don’t know. The three main pyramids at Giza, for example, are argued to have been built in ancient times as the eternal resting places of Pharaohs, Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure.

The only problem is, when the pyramids were first entered into, there weren’t any mummies there.

There hasn’t been a single discovery that can definitely put an end to the mystery and confirm that the pyramids were tombs.

But despite this, we’ve found some really strange things inside pyramids; things that left even the most skeptical of experts stumped.

The strange things we’ve found inside pyramids are perhaps what we DIDN’T find.

No burial chambers have been found inside.

The Great Pyramid of Giza, surprised experts when they found an ancient defense mechanism built inside the pyramid. This was put in place in order to prevent tomb raiders to loot the inside of the pyramid.

But what is perhaps one of the strangest things experts have found inside pyramids are the remains of OTHER pyramids.


Yes. There are certain pyramids scattered across the globe that have been built like massive Russia Dolls.

One pyramid inside another. It’s as if the ancients started off with a basic construction technique and went on to expand the structures, eventually resulting in some of the most amazing pyramids the world has ever seen.

Chichen Itza and the Pyramid of Kukulkan

One of the most amazing and famous pyramids in Mexico stands proudly in the state of Yucatan, in the Yucatan peninsula.

Chichen Itza is considered to have been one of the largest Maya cities and it was likely to have been one of the mythical great cities, or Tollans referred to in later Mesoamerican literature.

Like many other ancient Mesoamerican cities, Chichen Itza featured a densely clustered architecture, displaying evidence of advanced city planning techniques.

The entire city was erected over broken terrain, and archeologists have discovered evidence that the ancient builders had artificially leveled the area in order to erect some of their most prominent structures.

The Pyramid of Kukulkan at Chichen Itza. Shutterstock.

More than 2,5 million tourists visit the site each year.

And the Pyramid of Kukulkan, also known as el Castillo is a wonder of ancient engineering.

Creating superimposed buildings was a thing thousands of years ago, and evidence of such building techniques is found among Mesoamerican cultures periodically.

In the mid-1930s, the Mexican government sponsored an excavation of the PYramid of Kukulkan. Eventually, archeologists discovered a staircase under the north side of El Castillo. They excavated from the top, and to their surprise, they found another temple buried below the current one.

But that’s not all.


In 2016, archeologists announced that they had discovered another pyramid inside the Pyramid of Kukulkan. Inside one of the temple chambers, a Chac Mool statue and a throne shaped in the form of a Jaguar, made of Jade was found.

Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Moon

Teotihuacan is a stunning ancient city, home to some of the most impressive pyramids the world has ever seen. It features three main pyramids: The Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramid of the Moon, and the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent.

The pyramid of the Moon, the second-largest pyramid of Teotihuacan, is a wonder of ancient engineering.

Aerial view of Teotihuacan. Shutterstock.

Archeological evidence and excavations suggest that the Pyramid of the Moon underwent around six renovations in ancient times, each of which added new features and elements covering the previous structure. Currently, seven different layers make up the Pyramid we see today.

Embedded in stone, each of the layers tells us about the time when the Pyramid was updated, revealing the building’s religious meaning over time. Scholars argue that building 1, a square pyramidal platform around 14 meters long, is the oldest monument erected in Teotihuacan, most likely around 100 CE.

As time passed by, its builders would upgrade the Pyramid. The seventh layer we see today is believed to have been completed around 400 CE.

The Great Pyramid of Cholula

Not far from Teotihuacan, we travel to Puebla, where the Great Pyramid of Cholula stands proudly, hidden beneath a hill.

The pyramid of Cholula is so massive that even the Great Pyramid of Giza succumbs to its greatness.

It’s not big, it’s humongous. It’s imposing and breathtaking, and seeing it firsthand is a feeling unlike any other.

This massive Pyramid is the greatest of them all. Rising to the sky at 66 meters, it may not be the highest Pyramid in the world, but it certainly is the largest one by volume. Measuring 450 meters by 450 meters, the Great Pyramid of Cholula is acknowledged as the largest Pyramid on Earth according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Artist's conception of what the pyramid might have looked like. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Artist’s conception of what the pyramid might have looked like. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Over a period of a thousand years before the Spanish invaded the Americas, the ancients went through numerous construction phases that would gradually build the bulk of the Pyramid until it became the largest of them all.

The pyramid was built starting off small and simple. It was a project whose greatness even its builders did not initially understand.

Scholars today argue that the Pyramid of Cholula is a great Russian doll of ancient construction, ” built by various participating cultures.”

Its building process most likely began sometime around the third century BC and was completed around the ninth century AD.

What started off as a small platform would eventually urn into a supermassive temple, resulting in the largest Pyramid and the largest monument ever erected anywhere in the world, having a total estimated volume of 4.45 million cubic meters. The base of the Great Pyramid of Cholula measures 160,000 square meters, which makes it three times the area of the 53,056.5 square meter base area of the Great Pyramid at Giza.

This pyramid is worth of legend. And speaking of legends, it is said that the massive Pyramid was built by Xelhua, one of the seven giants of Aztec mythology.

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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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