Secrets of the Mexican pyramids

(ORDO NEWS) — The 1,500-year-old Mexican pyramids were built from tuff, limestone, and cactus sap, and one of them contained the remains of a woman who died almost a thousand years before this pyramid was built.

Nineteen skeletons were found at this site, including a female skeleton on top of the House of Thirteen Heavens.

At first, the skeleton was mistaken for the remains of a man: a hunter or a warrior. But the latest DNA analysis showed that it was a woman.

Even more surprisingly, the analysis showed that the body was much older than the buildings themselves. While the temple was built in 540 AD, the woman’s skeleton dates back to 400 BC, nearly a millennium earlier.

“These people carried the body with them wherever they went, and they carried it for at least 950 years,” said archaeologist Rossana Quiros.

“That means she was a very important ancestor. When they built the temples, they placed her body at the very top. But we don’t know who she was or why she was so special.”

Scientists still do not know which civilization built these majestic temples and pyramids.

After the team performed a genomic analysis of the skeletons, their DNA revealed genetic similarities to several other Mexican peoples, including the Nahua, Purépecha, Tarahumara, and Maya.

Thus, this place could be a gathering place for representatives of various cultures, where people from all over Mexico came.

This complex of temples and pyramids is located in Cañada de la Virgen (Valley of the Virgin), about 30 kilometers from the city of San Miguel de Allende in the central highlands of Mexico.

Rumors among locals about gold and skeletons in this lost city have been circulating for a long time, but scientists began excavations here only in 2000.

The House of Thirteen Heavens is a calendar instrument based on the movement of the sun throughout the year. It is the tallest pyramid with a rectangular base, sloping sides and stairs leading to the flat top of a platform about 15 meters high.

Two smaller structures, called the House of the Wind and the House of the Longest Night, were built from the same material.

It was volcanic tuff, fastened with a special mortar, and on top of the pyramids they were lined with polished limestone slabs, which are almost gone now.

But which ancient society built the site remains an open question, even after more than two decades of excavation. This is because determining who built the pyramids has proven difficult.

“In many ways, this place is still a mystery, and it continues to surprise us,” Coffey said. “We keep finding new information.”

What is known is that the House of Thirteen Heavens was a temple dedicated to a task vital in antiquity: keeping track of time.

Archaeologist Rossana Quiroz, director of the Museum of Pre-Hispanic Astronomy in San Miguel de Allende, who worked on the excavations with Gabriela Zepeda of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, says, “These people were timekeepers.”

Kyros explained that this ancient civilization built the House of Thirteen Heavens as a calendar tool based on the movement of the sun throughout the year and used it to determine important dates for agriculture.

According to her, they put great effort into the construction of the pyramids, which stood for more than 1,500 years.

But ironically, their own history is almost completely lost to time, partly because they left no written texts, and also because the Spanish conquest of modern Mexico in the 16th century destroyed all records of these ancient societies.

These ancient timekeepers were an advanced civilization well versed in astronomy, architecture, and building principles.

According to Quiros, many pre-Columbian cultures worshiped specific deities, but these people worshiped the creation of space and time.

In their architectural design, they imitated what happened during the creation of the world as they knew it. According to indigenous oral history, Kiros explained, sacred beings created the world, space, and life, and gave humans the Sun as a reference for telling time.

“Therefore, people had to reproduce this organization on Earth. First you organized the four cardinal directions.

And then the Sun moves in all four corners during the year. So what you see in the temple is a replica of what happened during the first creation of the universe.”

The four corners of the House of Thirteen Heavens corresponded to the winter and summer solstices on December 21 and June 22; and two important agricultural dates – March 4 and October 9 – indicating when it’s time to plant and harvest, respectively.

If you stand in front of the stairs of the pyramid on each of these four days, the sun is exactly at the corresponding angle.

When it came to building the pyramids, the builders used sophisticated architectural techniques and materials.

They quarried rough tuff rocks formed from hardened volcanic ash and arranged them so that each piece helped the other to stay in place – a method called hueso.

While the pyramids may look crude and unsophisticated today, the original architects spared no effort to make them beautiful, decorating the façades and staircases with carefully polished limestone they brought from afar. “They spent two to three days transporting them,” archaeologists say.

To attach the decorative limestone slabs, they collected a natural adhesive substance from the leaves of nopal – the prickly pear cactus that grows in the area – and used it as a natural adhesive.

“When you cut cactus leaves and leave them in water, they become sticky the next day,” Kyros said, explaining that the process was probably used by ancient builders. “If you mix it with mortar, you get a stronger adhesive,” she added.

When examining the pyramids, archaeologists discovered that they really contained objects of great value, but not gold. They found 19 buried bodies – men, women, a child and even a dog – all of which are being examined.


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