Published: October 2006

Mexico

Golden Eagle Sacrifice

Pyramid of Death

At the Pyramid of the Moon in central Mexico, humans and animals were buried alive. Excavations reveal the remains of sacrifices once witnessed by thousands of spectators.

By A. R. Williams
Photograph by Jesús Eduardo López Reyes

Even the ferocious Aztec were awed by their first glimpse of Teotihuacan. By the 13th century when the Aztec swept into central Mexico, the once teeming city—which reached its zenith around a.d. 400—had been long since abandoned by its mysterious builders. Its grand ceremonial center, where tens of thousands of people had gathered amid sacred monuments of stone, lay under thick green overgrowth. The Aztec gave the site its name and identified its most imposing features according to their own beliefs—the Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. Assuming that some of the buildings were tombs, they called the main thoroughfare Street of the Dead.

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