Teotihuacán, Mexico

Largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas


CyArk scanning Teotihuacan by CyArkCyArk

Expedition Overview

In December 2009, a small team from CyArk and Leica Geosystems traveled to Teotihuacán, Mexico to collaborate with Mexico's INAH and the World Monuments Fund to digitally preserve the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl also known as the Temple of the Feathered Serpent. The team utilized laser scanning and digital photography to document the temple in support of conservation work on site.

A view of the complex at Teotihuacan by CyArkCyArk

Introducing Teotihuacán

Located 32 kilometers (20 miles) northeast of Mexico City, Teotihuacán, dating from 100 BCE to 750 CE, is one of the largest Mesoamerican sites and features expansive urban causeways and massive pyramids. The name Teotihuacán translates to ‘the city of the gods’ in the Nahuatl language of the Aztec people, who conquered the area over 700 years after the collapse of the Teotihuacán culture. Teotihuacán was laid out on a grid and functioned as a city with a densely-populated and fully-urbanized central zone that was carefully planned by its founders. Teotihuacán's greatest period of fluorescence coincided with the construction of the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl around 200-225. At its peak the city is believed to have supported a population exceeding 125,000 people making it the largest pre-Columbian settlement in the Americas. 

The head of a serpent at Teotihuacan by CyArkCyArk

The Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl

While it is the smallest of the three pyramids along the Avenue of the Dead, the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl and the surrounding plaza contain the greatest concentration of the city’s sculptural and painted iconography. During Teotihuacán’s peak, the entire facade of the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl was richly decorated with hundreds of alternating sculpted heads of the Feathered Serpent deity known as Tlaloc. Over two hundred human sacrifices, most of whom seem to have been Teotihuacáno warriors, are interred under the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl; a find representing the largest number of sacrificial victims at any single structure in the city.

Open Heritage 3D by CyArkCyArk

Data from this project is now freely available through Open Heritage 3D.

Download the data from this project.

About Open Heritage 3D

The mission of the Open Heritage 3D project is to:

● Provide open access to 3D cultural heritage datasets for education, research and other
non-commercial uses.

● Minimize the technical, financial and legal barriers for publishers of 3D heritage data.

● Promote discovery and re-use of datasets through standardized metadata and data formats.

● Foster community collaboration and knowledge sharing in the 3D cultural heritage community.

● Share best practices and methodologies for the capture, processing and storage of 3D cultural heritage data

Credits: Story

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This project was made possible through the generous support of World Monuments Fund and the following partners:

Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia

Leica Geosystems

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