Friday, January 11, 2019
Ancient Bronze Age symbol on the mountain above Teotihuacan
While wandering around the stone ruins on the top of Cerro Gordo, north of Teotihuacan, I took color slides of several rock carvings. However, I never really looked again at the slide immediately to the right, after first glancing at it in a slide viewer in 1970. It was never used in any of my lectures on Mesoamerican architecture, during the subsequent decades. It didn’t look very “Mesoamerican” and seemed to have nothing to do with architecture. There it sat in the slide box, forgotten, until just recently.
You can thank Georgia Tech architecture professors, Ike Saporta and Julian Harris, for me having all those precious images of Mesoamerican civilization that you never see in videos or in books. Ike was also president of the Atlanta Archaeological Society and hammered into my head the directive that I document EVERYTHING I encountered . . . not just what interested me. Julian was the architect for the Etowah Mounds Museum and also a professional sculptor. In writing, he requested that I photograph as many glyphs and motifs as possible. He often sculptured traditional Creek motifs to place on his buildings. Copies of all my slides were to be held by the Georgia Tech Library.
Someone really, really didn’t like whoever the Great Sun symbol stood. The petroglyph had been torn from the wall of a building and severely defaced. In fact, all of the stone ruins near where archaeologists are working now, showed signs of violent destruction. Archaeologists had to dig down to an earlier phase of the structure or building complex to get to walls that had not been torn asunder.
Although the other fragments of rock carvings on Cerro Gordo look more “Mesoamerican,” they still do not look like those in the valley above. My guess is that the rock carving above dates from the time of the Olmec Civilization. Note that the rock has an Olmec Civilization- Maya number on the upper right-hand corner. In fact, I believe that it is safe to say that we are looking at an early form of their writing system. This stone slab was also torn from a building an broken up, but there were no attempts to gouge out the imagery.