Teotihuacan Research Laboratory

Pyramid of the Sun


by Research Professor Saburo Sugiyama

The Pyramid of the Sun was one of the largest man-made constructions in the New World.

The huge mound was explored, consolidated and partially reconstructed between 1905 and 1907 as part of the presidential program to commemorate the first anniversary of Mexico’s Independence. As a result of the exploration we now know that the pyramid constituted part of a larger monumental complex together with long and wide platforms surrounding the pyramid and residential/office compounds. However, we still did not know the symbolic functions and specific meanings attached to this huge monument until we began to decipher certain features associated with it.

The earthen nucleus of the Sun Pyramid shows two superimposed architectural stages: one square platform measuring roughly 215 meters per side and another almost completely covering the earlier one.

The semidetached platform had at least four construction stages that corresponded to the first and second stages of the pyramid. The first stage of the Sun Pyramid was the central monument built around AD 200.

During the following Miccaotli phase, the principal façade was partially covered by the semidetached platform with centrally located feline images (Millon 1973).

The pyramid was enlarged during the Xolalpan phase and measured 64 meters high with a squared base of 224 meters approximately. Although the data on ideological attributes or functions associated with the Sun Pyramid are scarce, solid data regarding the polity and the presence of rulers are derived from inside the pyramid.