Remains Of A Pyramidal Basement Discovered In Mexico

Surrounded by contemporary constructions and surrounded by urban development in the municipality of Tlalmanalco, in the State of Mexico, archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) discovered the remains of a pyramidal basement, which was part of the urban center of the capital. of Tlacochcalco, the altépetl or main lordship of the league of Chalca peoples: the Chalcayotl, during the period of Mexica occupation. 

Remains Of A Pyramidal Basement Discovered In Mexico
Detail of some spindle whorls found between levelling walls
[Credit: Ricardo Arredondo Rojas, INAH]

Located in the central streets of El Naranjo and Guerrero, crossing with Avenida de La Rosa, of the aforementioned population, the remains of the building are part of the totehuacan , the central neighborhood of Tlalmanalco, according to the archaeologist of the state representation of the INAH, Hervé Víctor Monterrosa Desruelles.

That area, he explained, is a continuum of platforms and levelings, a reflection of a pre-Hispanic occupation, “but unfortunately houses have been built on them, although in this case, the owner of the property where the remains were located, when wanting to build, resorted to the Institute , in order to examine a mound detected on his land, which upon analysis revealed the structure.

Remains Of A Pyramidal Basement Discovered In Mexico
View of the north wall of the third section, in the process of clearance
[Credit: Herve Monterros, INAH]

Monterrosa explained that the elements of the discovered basement are only a third of the volume of the construction, the rest was devastated by the urban area. However, an architectural body of three levels has been detected, whose base measures 12 by 18 meters, approximately, and about 9 meters high, from the height of the walls to the top.

“In the liberation of the building, by means of approach coves, we locate different elements such as the walls, which are taken care of according to the length of each facade.

Once this intervention is made, the second phase will be to give volume and solidity to the structure, which is deteriorated, especially in its northwestern part, by means of consolidation and restitution works ”.

Remains Of A Pyramidal Basement Discovered In Mexico
View of the northwest corner of the pyramidal base
[Credit: Herve Monterros Desruelles, INAH]

Another of the specialists who is part of the project, developed by the Ministry of Culture, through the Centro INAH Estado de México, the archaeologist and architect Ricardo Arredondo Rojas, pointed out that in the first body some quarters were found with remains of stucco floors , with which the height of the walls was determined.

Architecturally, he said, the structure presents two phases of occupation: the first, from 1350 to 1465 -during the hegemonic moment of Chalco-, shows a clear chalca influence, with a construction system that uses mortars based on lime and crushed tezontle, as well as lake mud as a binder, highlighting, for its technique, the stone quarry work.

Remains Of A Pyramidal Basement Discovered In Mexico
Detail of the tripod plate found in front of the wall of the third section
on the north facade [Credit: Herve Monterros, INAH]

The second stage, with the occupation of the Mexica Empire in that region (from 1465 until the moment of contact with the Spaniards), corresponds to the phase of expansion of the basement, which can be seen with the series of caissons for built-up construction fillings. in that area. “However, the quality of the work declines completely, it becomes coarser, which indicates changes in the occupation and the sense of urban space.

“The latter shows us how they gained ground to the nearby ravine, cramming the structure with these boxes that supported it, which they filled with waste ceramic material from an earlier era.”

Arredondo Rojas commented that, if the original volume of the pyramidal basement were restored, “we would be talking about approximate dimensions of between 35 and 45 meters per side, in its first body.”

According to the archaeological data obtained so far, both researchers suggest that it is an elite housing type structure, perhaps a palatial area, since the ceramic material found in the place is fine, although it remains to be analyzed.

They stressed that it is also necessary to corroborate the occupation sequences, because even when there are remains of the building, the archaeological material, mainly ceramic (sherds and winches), is found mixed up with the construction fillings or in the depositions of the collapses.

Remains Of A Pyramidal Basement Discovered In Mexico
Another detail of the attached room on the west facade
[Credit: Herve Monterros Desruelles, INAH]

“We need to locate and excavate more sealed contexts to determine them, so the excavations will conclude in September, and then the archaeological materials will be analyzed in the cabinet,” they agreed.

Hervé Monterrosa explained that when talking about sites from the Postclassic period, like this one, they are approached with an ethnocentric vision regarding the Mexica; “However, the one that is excavated is chalca, whose importance lies in having been, like Tlacochcalco, the head of the altépetl (in the Mexica stage) and one of the five original manors of Chalco, along with Tenango-Tepopula, Xico-Chalco -Atenco, Amecameca and Xochimilco-Chimalhuacán.

Tlalmanalco was one of the Chalca kingdoms that was founded late, in the mid-fourteenth century, which, at the end of the Mexica incursion on the site, in the Contact stage, became the main socio-political entity of the Chalcayotl, the league of towns in the region.

“It was in this settlement where Hernán Cortés, according to the third of his Letters of Relationship , spent the night to negotiate the alliance with the lords of Chalco, who would guide him to the entrance of Mexico-Tenochtitlan,” he concluded.

This Article is translated from spanish language

Source: INAH


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