Teotihuacan Research Laboratory

Avenue of the Dead


by Research Professor Saburo Sugiyama

The Avenue of the Dead was the main street of Teotihuacan. It ran for more than 2.5 km, beginning at the Moon Plaza to the north and extending beyond the Ciudadela and the Great Compound complexes to the south.

According to Millon (Cowgill 1992a:96; Millon 1981:221), the avenue continued even further south, terminating near the edge of the mountains that can be seen in the background of the below photo.

The avenue divided the city into two sections. Apartment compounds with pyramidal constructions were arranged on both sides of the avenue, often symmetrically and sharing the same orientation. This highly planned city layout suggests that the avenue may have been planned since its early phases of urbanization.

The main sector of the avenue was evidently the section between the Moon Pyramid and the Citadel complex. This part of the avenue was lined with long talud-tablero platforms. Access to flanking residential zones was confined to masonry stairways with balustrades.

The width of the avenue varies significantly, ranging from 40 to 95 meters. A large long channel under the floor of the avenue gathered rain water from neighboring architectural units and drained it into Rio San Juan Canal.