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Janet Montoya

Terracotta Figurines from the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacán, México
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The Pyramid of the Moon framed by Cerro Gordo (from Millon 1993:23).

Research Year:  1999
Culture:  Teotihuacán
Chronology:  Early Classic to Late Classic
Location:  Teotihuacán, México
Site:  Pyramid of the Moon

Table of Contents

The City of Teotihuacán
Clay Figurines at Teotihuacán
The Excavation Project
The Figurines
Method of Figurine Analysis
Overview of the Figurine Collection
Figurines related to Superimposed Buildings
Building 1
Building 2
Building 4
Building 5
Building 7
List of Figures
Sources Cited


In May 1998, Dr. Saburo Sugiyama of Arizona State University and the University Prefectural of Aichi, Japan and Professor Ruben Cabrera of the National Institute of Anthropology and History of México began a joint project to explore the interior of the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacán, México. The structure, believed to be the earliest of the monumental constructions at the site, is located at the slightly elevated northern end of the central North-South axis of the city, framed by the mountain known today as Cerro Gordo as illustrated in Figure 1. It is surrounded by fifteen smaller pyramidal structures, which form a large plaza opening onto the central avenue of the city.

Because of its strategic location within the overall city layout and the unique configuration of the Moon Plaza, it seems likely that the pyramid was of great significance to the inhabitants and probably functioned as the center of ritual and ceremonial activities from its earliest days. Sugiyama and Cabrera felt that exploration of the interior of the Pyramid of the Moon could provide information about early Teotihuacán and help answer long-standing questions regarding the origins of the city, the political organization and structure of the government, and the religion and ideology of the Teotihuacán state. The project continues to the present day and is currently in its fourth field season.

With funding from FAMSI, the documentation and analysis of the clay figurines recovered during the first three field seasons, specifically the 1998-2000 excavations in and adjacent to the Pyramid of the Moon, has been accomplished. In this report I will first present a brief overview of the excavation project and the figurine collection. The focus of the report will be the subset of the figurine collection that can, at this time, be related to the various building stages or substructures within the walls of the structure we know as the Pyramid of the Moon.

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Terracotta Figurines from the Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacán, México  (60 KB)

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Submitted 12/01/2004 by:

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