The secrets hidden by the largest Mayan pyramid in Mexico

In addition to the highest pyramid in Mesoamerica, what will all the secrets hidden in the archaeological site of Toniná, Chiapas be?

The Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacán was considered for a long time the highest pyramid in Mexican territory, however, in the Archaeological Zone of Tonina, in the municipality of Ocosingo, Chiapas, they found the largest pyramid: the Acropolis of Tonina.

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As it would have happened in the early twentieth century, this pyramid located in the heart of the Chiapas jungle was hidden under piles of earth, making it look like another hill. However, in 2009, archaeologists found traces of the pyramid that is 75 meters high, with 7 levels and 260 steps – which coincide with the Mayan lunar calendar – and an age of 700 years, according to the INAH.

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This pyramid is so high that it connects with the other spaces of the archaeological zone. At the southern entrance, there is a ball game court, as well as the Temple of War, which has 5 altars at the front. While on the north side there are five other altars and in the background the pyramid that also includes eight palaces, 13 temples -one for each Mayan god- and one plaza, reaching up to 94 hectares, of which only 2 kilometers have been legally protected for the archaeological excavation.

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Tonina comes from the Tzeltal which means “the stone house” or “the place where stone sculptures stand in honor of time”, according to the INAH, although the linguist César Corzo translates it as “where it gets dark” or “west house” ” The entire site is characterized by the passage of time: the Acropolis was completed over the course of hundreds of years until it became a Mayan city equal or more important than Palenque. According to Emiliano Gallaga, director of the archaeological zone of Toniná:

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“In fact, Toniná defeated Palenque and some investigations suggest that two sons of Pakal were taken prisoner in this place.”

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Inside have been found various objects and murals that deal with the history of this site, as well as its rulers. That is the case of Tzotz Choj, a sculpture of the Murciélago-Jaguar ruler, or the murals of the Palace of the Underworld on the third level of the pyramid.

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Also, specialists have found evidence of influences from Olmec, Teotihuacan and even Toltec architecture. Gallaga also explains:

“It is a great surprise to note that the pyramid was made almost entirely by pre-Hispanic architects and, therefore, is more artificial than natural. The above is explained because it was believed that almost everything was a hill or natural mound, but recent evidence has revealed that almost in its entirety was built by the ancient settlers.

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How many mysteries of the Mayan world and of Toniná will remain unveiled?

By Beatriz Esquivel

The Mazatlan Post

 

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