The Pyramid Of The Sun
Among American pyramids the best known include the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán in central Mexico, the Castillo at Chichén Itzá, and various Inca and Chimú structures in Andean settlements. American pyramids were generally built of earth and then faced with stone, and they are typically of stepped form and topped by a platform or temple structure. The Pyramid of the Sun, with base dimensions of 220 by 230 metres (722 by 755 feet), rivals in size the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, which measures 230 square metres (2,476 square feet).
The Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, echoing the shape of the mountains surrounding the valley, served as focal points for Teotihuacan’s urban layout. Beneath the pyramids are earlier structures; perhaps even tombs of Teotihuacan rulers are to be found within their stone walls. When the Pyramid of the Sun was completed circa 200 A.D., One of the largest structures ever built in the ancient Americas, its aspect today is the result of reconstruction and consolidation carried out in the early part of the twentieth century. Excavations in 1971 directly under the Pyramid of the Sun revealed a tunnel-like cave, ending in a cloverleaf-shaped set of chambers, apparently the scene of numerous ancient fire and water rituals. This cave may have been a “place of emergence”—the “womb” from which the first humans came into the world in central Mexican thought. Caves are a key part of symbolic imagery associated with creation myths and the underworld throughout Mesoamerican history. The location and orientation of this cave may have been the impetus for the Pyramid of the Sun’s alignment and construction.