Pyramid of the Moon Project 1998-2004

The Pyramid of the Moon Project was initiated in July of 1998. The first step in the exploration of the pyramid consisted of the excavation of a tunnel into the pyramid from west to east and test pit/trench excavations around the pyramid.

The entrance of the tunnel was located on the west side of the pyramid at the juncture of the Adosada platform with the main body of the Pyramid of the Moon.

The objective of the excavation was to investigate the earlier buildings in the interior of the pyramid and to reach the central area of the buildings to locate any offerings or burials that could provide information about the rituals and beliefs of the ancient Teotihuacanos. Therefore, we excavated tunnels following the Teotihuacan E-W orientation and N-S center line of the pyramid, which is also the main axis of the city (Figs. 1 and 2).

Two additional tunnels were excavated at higher levels to investigate the upper portion and three-dimensionally central area of the pyramid. As a result of the tunnel excavations seven overlapping structures and three offering-burial complexes were discovered. They have been designated Buildings 1 through 7 from the older to the later, and Burials 2, 3 and 4, which correspond to Buildings 4, 5 and 6 respectively. Burials 5 and 6, found at higher levels, corresponded to the time of termination of Building 5 (or the foundation of Building 6) and the construction period of Building 4 respectively.

At the same time that the interior of the pyramid was being explored systematically and intensively by means of tunnels, the exterior of the pyramid and its associated structures were also investigated (Fig. 3). On the north (or posterior), east, and west sides of the Pyramid of the Moon, trenches and pits were excavated in order to confirm the existence of interior and/or adjacent structures. The information recovered from these locations helped establish the exact dimensions, form, and the dates of the pyramid in its earlier versions, and understand activities that were carried out in the immediate vicinity of the pyramid.

Fig. 1) Aerial view of the Pyramid of the Moon from balloon, showing the front entrance of the lower tunnels at the plaza level (Front A), upper tunnel (Front H) and the middle tunnel (Front K) at the superior floor level of the Adosada Platform.
Fig. 2) 3-D perspective of the Pyramid of the Moon in AutoCad, indicating the location of the tunnels excavated and completely filled back after the completion of the research.
Fig. 3) Residential/administrative compound attached immediately west of the Pyramid of the Moon (photograph taken from the Pyramid of the Moon).