The earliest cultural horizon at Teotihuacán dates to c.100 BC The culture flourished from about AD 300 to 900, undergoing tremendous expansion; it became the most populous city in the Americas at its height. Excavations have revealed large chambered structures resembling communal dwellings. The people of Teotihuacán brought sculpture, the art of carving exquisitely stylized stone masks, ceramic manufacture and decoration, and mural painting on walls to a high degree of refinement. The designs show a strong concern for cosmological matters, indicating the existence of a complex religious system.
More recent archaeological work at the site, as well as elsewhere in Mexico, has revealed that Teotihuacán was a commercial as well as a religious center. Craft specialization is evident in various parts of the city, and Teotihuacán influence is seen in such far-off places as the Guatemala highlands, the Maya lowlands, and the valley of Oaxaca. Some neighborhoods of the city seem to have been inhabited by groups of immigrants who retained their distinct ethnic identities. The political organization of Teotihuacán and its sphere of influence are unknown.
See R. F. Millon et al., ed., Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán (1965) and Urbanization at Teotihuacán (1973); E. Pasztory, The Murals of Tepantitla, Teotihuacán (1976).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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