Teotihuacan remains one of the most mysterious ancient cities in the American Continent.
We’ve got absolutely no idea who erected this mysterious city when it was built, how it was built, nor do we know its original name. What we do know is that civilizations such as the Aztecs called it ‘The City of Gods‘.
Mainstream scholars argue that the ancient city was established sometime around 100 BC, and it lasted until its fall around the seventh and eighth centuries.
An ancient city worthy of Gods
Teotihuacan was one of the largest ancient cities in the world, and its builders had incredible knowledge in Mathematics, Geology, Astronomy, and Engineering.
Home to several pyramids, the Sun Pyramid at Teotihuacan is perhaps the city’s most prominent feature.
The Pyramid of the Sun is exactly half as tall as the Pyramid of Giza and the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Moon, and the Temple of Quetzalcoatl are in the same layout as Orion’s Belt.
And while this may be a stunning detail most were unaware of, archaeologists have also found very large quantities of Mica at Teotihuacan.
Mica cannot be found anywhere near Teotihuacan, and its nearest mineral base is found 3,000 miles away in Brazil. Despite this, Mica is present in almost every building at Teotihuacan.
It was thought that the Aztecs as well as mixed cultures from today’s modern-day Mexico City region occupied the city, and called it home for centuries.
But now, archaeologists from INAH have confirmed that the Mayan elite lived in the “City of the Gods.”
As noted by experts, more than 1,700 years ago, the power of Teotihuacán and some cities of the Maya Lowlands broke borders of influence, crossing into different settlements spread across great distances.
Epigraphic texts located in cities such as Tikal, as well as in Guatemalan Petén, refer to the contact that both cultures maintained towards the IV century of our era, however, little evidence of it had been found in the great metropolis of the Mexican Altiplano, until now.
A history changer
Keys to the interaction between the two Classic civilizations can be found in the Plaza de las Columnas, located between the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon, and west of the Calzada de Los Muertos, where a team of archaeologists led by the doctors Saburo Sugiyama, Veronica Ortega Cabrera, Nawa Sugiyama, and William Fash, has been able to determine that the structures present in this site served for administrative, ceremonial and probably as residence of the elite not only from Teotihuacan, but elites from the Mayan civilization at least around 350 AD, when both dominated Mesoamerica.
Key Findings were made in 2016
One of the most revealing pieces of evidence was found in 2016 when more than 500 fragments of mural painting were rescued in the northern part of the northern mound, many of which stand out for their Mayan style.
These pieces were recovered from a thick layer of 50 cm filling, so the mural had to be exposed during a boom period and was intentionally destroyed towards the last stages of the city.
Sugiyama, who has worked the last 38 years in Teotihuacán, indicates that the previous discovery in the Pyramid of the Moon of sacrificed individuals accompanied by green stone earrings of Mayan style, pointed to the relationship of these cultures, but the remains of mural painting of the Plaza de las Columnas “allows us to affirm the presence of the Mayan elites in Teotihuacán, and that this was not periodic and with ritual ends, but permanent. It is likely that the artists who made these murals, and the highest-ranking Mayan officials, lived in a building north of that mound.”
Although the mural fragments have not yet been reconstructed by experts, a wide range of colors (white, red, ocher, green, among others) can be identified, including small human figurines similar to those seen in the murals of the Teotihuacan neighborhood of Tetitla.
However, due to the presence of Mayan glyphs, the fluid style, mastery of the line and its naturalism are the work of an artist or artists “who knew perfectly the iconography of the Lowlands of the Mayan south”.