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article imageAztec Pyramid Uncovered In Midst of Crime Ridden District

By geozone     Aug 4, 2007 in World
Archaeologists believe they have found the main pyramid of the ruins of an ancient Aztec city. In June, walls thought to be part of the main pyramid were unearthed by construction workers in a neighborhood of Iztapalapa.
Built on the site of an important pre-Columbian town, Iztapalapa (also spelled Ixtapalapa) is right by Mount Estrella, a site where the Aztecs lighted a sacred fire to begin each cycle of their 52 year "century" referred to as the "Calendar Round." Today this district of Mexico City is most known for its drug dealing and violent crime.
Archaeologists have known the general location of the Aztec city for some time. But their efforts to locate its precise position were hampered by the large urban sprawl that is Mexico City.
In 1520, the area of Iztapalapa was the setting for the Sad Night, a battle between Aztec warriors led by Cuitlahuac, brother of Montezuma, and the Spanish army led by Cortes. Once they gained the upper hand, the Spanish conquerors set fire to the shrines in the Aztec temples and then beat a hasty retreat.
Government archaeologist, Jesus Sanchez, believes the main pyramid of the ancient city is located underneath a central plaza and garden in the district. He and his team will spend a full year evaluating the site before deciding if they will excavate.
Though it is not mentioned in the Reuters report specifically, I believe the ancient city they are referring to is Tenochtitlan, the ruins of the ancient Aztec capital on top of which the Spaniards built Mexico City.
The Mexico Page gives the latitude and longitude co-ordinates for Iztapalapa as 19° 21' 4N and 99° 3' 7W. Here is a view of the district using those coordinates as seen via Google Maps in FlashEarth. (Click anywhere on the black FlashEarth window to get rid of that screen and access the map. Look where the square crosshair is on the screen to find the location.) You can zoom in or out but there is a limit on how close you can zoom in.
The Aztecs apparently were inspired to build Tenochtitlan on a grid system by the ruins of an even older ancient city, that of Teotihuacan. Teotihuacan preceded the Aztec empire by 1,000 years but a mystery surrounds the identity of its builders and inhabitants. The Mayans are said to have called this city puh which means "Place of the Reeds." It was the Aztecs who named it Teotihuacan, "Birthplace of the Gods." The Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon are the city's most famous structures. Here is a Google Maps/FlashEarth view of the Pyramid of the Sun. If you zoom out, you will see a street just to the left (west) of the pyramid. That is the Avenue or Street of the Dead. Follow it up (north) to the end. The structure at the end of the street is the Pyramid of the Moon. If you have a PC, use your left mouse button to click on the Pyramid of the Moon. While holding down the left mouse button, grab and drag the Pyramid of the Moon until it is under the square crosshair. Now release the mouse button and zoom in for a closer look at the structure.
Enjoy the view. Cheers.
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