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Sun Jun 30, 2019, 12:19 AM

Interactions Between The Ancient Maya And The City Of Teotihuacan Revealed By New Excavations

Jun 28, 2019, 10:05am

David S. Anderson Contributor

Panorama of Pyramid of the Sun. Teotihuacan. Mexico. View from the Pyramid of the Moon.GETTY

Earlier this month, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History announced new discoveries made by archaeologists working at the site of Teotihuacan, located outside of Mexico City. Teotihuacan was first occupied in 100 BC and grew to be one of the largest cities in the entire world before its collapse in AD 650. The new findings from this ancient city shed important light on the complex relationship that the people of Teotihuacan held with their Central American neighbors, the Maya.

For many decades, archaeologists have found occasional examples of Teotihuacan style artifacts and architecture at Maya sites leading to speculation about the relationship between these two cultures. Significant light was thrown onto that relationship in 2000 when epigrapher David Stuart published his interpretation of a hieroglyphic text from Stela 31, a monument from the Maya city of Tikal. This public monument seemed to describe the conquest of Tikal in AD 378 by foreigners with the backing of Teotihuacan.

View of majestic mayan ruins with green grass and trees at Tikal National Park in Guatemala near the border of Belize.GETTY

In the 4th century AD, Maya cities were still relatively small, and thus it was not difficult to imagine that Teotihuacan could have held some political or military influence over their neighbors, yet we still knew relatively little about the nature of the relationship between these two powers. The new findings announced by the National Institute of Anthropology and History, however, have revealed the presence of Maya people at Teotihuacan prior to the invasion of Tikal, thereby adding yet more layers of complexity to this story.

These new findings were presented by archaeologist Nawa Sugiyama of the University of California, Riverside, at the conference Descubrimientos recientes en Teotihuacan: excavaciones en la Plaza de las Columnas. Sugiyama, together with an international team of archaeologists, documented numerous signs of Maya presence in a group known as The Plaza of the Columns at Teotihuacan.


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