17 November 2008
Mexico City: Teotihuacan
You are not going to leave Teotihuacán off your agenda if you visit Mexico City. It features in every guidebook, so there is not much that I need to add. Even just watching the video that I shot there will leave you amazed at the sheer scale of the place - and remember that most of Teotihuacán has not yet been explored.
Since nobody knows who built this city, you can add to the theories about its origins and purpose with some of your own. The writer Graham Hancock believes that the city is much older than the generally accepted 2,000 years or so. He also thinks that the main street isn't a street at all, rather it is a series of reflecting pools. He argues that a street cannot be blocked off in the way that this one supposedly is.
The problem with his argument is that the street is only blocked off by terraces for a small part of its length - the terraces stop just before the first pyramid is reached. Prior to that point five areas are created by terracing, but each terrace has a large drainage channel built into it - and they do look like drainage channels to me, and not sluices that Hancock and others think they are. The Valley of Mexico gets some serious monsoon rains between June and October, so to avoid getting these parts of the city inundated, the builders put in these drainage channels.
Looking at the foundations of the buildings at that point, most of them do not seem to be temples, instead they look like small warehouses. So maybe these sections were markets, each one blocked off from its neighbour by the terracing? That would make sense if what the markets were selling was animals or slaves, that people bought to sacrifice at the temples' complex. Viewed in this light, the terracing created closed areas that helped prevent escapes.
I have no evidence whatsoever to back any of this up, but neither does Mr Hancock with his reflecting pools theory. Why not come along and cobble together a theory of your own?