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5 Cards in this Set

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Teotihuacán[1] [teotiwa'kan] (Nahuatl: "place of those who have the road of the gods") was, at its height in the first half of the 1st millennium AD (CE), the largest city in the Americas. The name Teotihuacan is also used to refer to the civilization that this city was the center of, which at its greatest extent included much of central Mexico. Its influence spread throughout Mesoamerica; evidence of Teotihuacano presence, if not outright political and economic control, can be seen at numerous sites in Veracruz and the Maya region.
Basics
The early history of Teotihuacan is quite mysterious, and the origin of its founders is debated. For many years, archaeologists believed it was built by the Toltec people, an early Mexican civilization. This belief was based on Aztec writings which attributed the site to the Toltecs. However, the Nahuatl word "Toltec" means "great craftsman" and may not always refer to the Toltec civilization. Also, Teotihuacan predates the Toltec civilization, ruling them out as the city's founders. Other scholars have put forth the Totonac people as the founders of Teotihuacan, and the debate continues to this day. There is evidence that at least some of the people living in Teotihuacan came from areas influenced by the Teotihuacano civilization, including the Zapotec, Mixtec and Maya peoples. The culture and architecture of Teotihuacan was influenced by the Olmec people, who are considered to be the "mother civilization" of Mesoamerica. The earliest buildings at Teotihuacan date to about 200 BC, and largest pyramid, the Pyramid of the Sun, was completed by 100 AD.
History
between 150 and 450 AD, when it was the center of a powerful culture that dominated Mesoamerica, wielding power and influence comparable to ancient Rome. At its height the city covered over 30 km² (over 11½ square miles), and probably housed a population of over 150,000 people, possibly as many as 250,000.[2]. Various districts in the city housed people from across the Teotihucano empire. Notably absent from the city are fortifications and military structures. Teotihuacan's influence was mostly spread through commerce and religion, rather than military conquest. Teotihuacan had a major influence on the Preclassic Maya, allying itself with several city-states and influencing Maya culture. The Teotihuacano style of architecture was a major contribution to Mesoamerican culture. The stepped pyramids that were quite prominent in Maya and Aztec architecture came from Teotihuacan. This style of building was called "talud-tablero", where a rectangular panel (tablero) was placed over a sloping side (talud). The city was a center of industry, home to many potters, jewelers and craftsmen. Teotihuacan is known for producing a great number of obsidian artifacts. Unfortunately no ancient Teotihuacano non-ideographic texts are known to exist (or known to have existed), but mentions of the city in inscriptions from Maya cities show that Teotihuacán nobility travelled to and perhaps conquered local rulers as far away as Honduras. Maya inscriptions mention an individual nicknamed by scholars as "Spearthrower Owl", apparently ruler of Teotihuacan, who reigned for over 60 years and installed his relatives as ruler of Tikal and Uaxactún in Guatemala. Most of what we infer about the culture at Teotihuacán comes from the murals that adorn the site and others, like the Wagner Murals, found in private collections, and from hieroglyphic inscriptions made by the Maya describing their encounters with Teotihuacano conquerors.
Height of power
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It was previously believed that sometime during the 7th or 8th centuries, the city was sacked and burned by invaders, possibly the Toltecs. More recent evidence, however, seems to indicate that the burning was limited to the structures and dwellings associated primarily with the elite class. Some see this as evidence that the burning was from an internal uprising and that the invasion theory is flawed due to the fact that early archaeological work on the city was focused exclusively on the palaces and temples, places used by the elites, and because all of these sites showed burning, archaeologists concluded that the whole city was burned. Instead, it is now known that the destruction in the city was focused on major civic structures along the Avenue of the Dead. Some statues seem to have been destroyed in a methodical way, their fragments dispersed. The fact that population began to decline around 500-600 CE also supports the internal unrest hypothesis. The decline of Teotihucán has been correlated with the droughts related to the Climate changes of 535–536. This theory is supported by the archeological remains that show a rise in the percentage of juvenile skeletons with evidence of malnutrition during the 6th century. This does not conflict with either of the above theories however since both increased warfare and internal unrest can also be effects of a general period of drought and famine. [3] Other nearby centers like Cholula, Xochicalco, and Cacaxtla attempted to fill the powerful vacuum left by Teotihuacan's decline. They may have aligned themselves against Teotihuacan in an attempt to reduce its influence and power. The art and architecture at these sites shows an interest in emulating Teotihuacan forms, but also a more eclectic mix of motifs and iconography from other parts of Mesoamerica, particularly the Maya region.
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Knowledge of the huge ruins of Teotihuacan was never lost. After the fall of the city, various squatters lived on the site. When the Aztecs discovered the city it became a place of pilgrimage and it was identified with the myth of Tollan, the place where the sun was created. Teotihuacan astonished the Spanish conquistadores during their conquest of Mexico, and it has become one of the most noted attractions for visitors to Mexico since the 19th century.

Minor archaeological excavations were conducted in the 19th century, and in 1905 major projects of excavation and restoration began under archaeologist Leopoldo Batres, with the Pyramid of the Sun restored to celebrate the centennial of Mexican Independence in 1910. Major programs of excavation and restoration were carried out in 1960-65 and 1980-82. Recent projects at the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent have greatly expanded understanding of the nature of ritual practice and sacrifice at the site. Teotihuacan remains a major tourist destination, now complete with two museums.
Today