« ZurückWeiter »
the “cities” whose remains are found in the Chaco Wal. ley), although much dilapidated, are still sufficiently well preserved to show us what they were. There are seven ruins in the Chaco Valley, all of the same age, from one to three miles apart, the whole line along which they are situated being not more than ten miles in extent. Coronado said of Cevola, “The seven cities are seven small towns, standing all within four leagues together;” and “all together they are called Cevola.” The Chaco ruins show that each of these “cities” was, Pueblo fashion, a single edifice of vast size, capable of accommodating from five hundred to three thousand people. They were all built of stone, around three sides of a square, the side opposite the main building being left open. Figure 23 represents one of these buildings restored, according to Lieutenant Simpson. Figure 24 is a ground plan of this structure. The outer faces of the walls were constructed with thin and regular blocks of sandstone; the inner surfaces were made of cobblestone laid in mortar, and the outer walls were three feet thick. They were four or five stories high, and the only entrances to them were “window openings” in the second story. Above the cañon inclosing the valley containing these ruins, at a distance of thirteen miles, are the remains of another “city” of precisely the same kind. Its walls are at present between twenty and thirty feet high, their foundations being deeply sunk into the earth. Lieutenant Simpson, who explored that region in 1849, says it was built of tabular pieces of hard, fine-grained, compact gray sandstone, none of the layers being more
than three inches thick. He adds, “It discovers in the masonry a combination of science and art which can only be referred to a higher stage of civilization and refinement than is discoverable in the work of Mexicans or Pueblos of the present day. Indeed, so beautifully diminutive and true are the details of the structure as to cause it at a little distance to have all the appearance of a magnificent piece of mosaic.” Other ruins have been examined in this northern part of the old Mexican territory, and more will be brought to light, for the whole region has not been carefully examined, and new discoveries are constantly reported.
As we go down into Central Mexico, the remains as: sume another character, and become more important; but the antiquities in this part of the country have not been very completely explored and described, the attention of explorers having been drawn more to the south. Some of them are well known, and it can be seen that to a large extent they are much older than the time of the Aztecs whom Cortez found in power.
In the northern part of the Mexican Walley was the city of Tulha, the ancient capital of the Toltecs. At the time of the conquest its site was an extensive field of ruins. At Xochicalco, in the State of Mexico, is a remarkable pyramid, with a still more remarkable base. It was constructed with five stages or stories, and stands on a hill consisting chiefly of rock, which was excavated und hollowed for the construction of galleries and chambers. The opening serves as an entrance to several galleries, which are six feet high and paved with cement, their sides and ceilings seeming to have been covered with some very durable preparation which made them smooth and glistening. Captain Dupaix found the main gallery sixty yards, or one hundred and eighty feet long, terminating at two chambers which are separated only by two massive square pillars carefully fashioned of portions of the rock left for the purpose by the excavators. Over a part of the inner chamber, toward one corner, is a dome or cupola six feet in diameter at the base, and rather more in height. It has a regular slope, and was faced with square stones well prepared and admirably laid in cement. From the top went up a tube or circular aperture nine inches in diameter, which probably reached the open air or some point in the pyramid. In this part of Mexico can be seen, among other things, the great pyramid or mound of Cholulu, the very ancient and remarkable pyramidal structures at Teotihuacan, and an uncounted number of teocallis or pyramids of smaller size. The pyramid of Cholulu covers an area of forty-five acres. It was terraced and built with four stages. When measured by IIumboldt it was 1400 feet square at the base, and 160 feet high. At present it is a ruin, and, to superficial observers, seems little more than a huge artificial mound of earth. Its condition of decay indicates that it is much older than even the Toltec period. The largest structure at Teotihuacan covers eleven acres. These structures, and the Mexican teocallis gen. erally, were made of earth, and faced with brick or stone.