Great Pyramid of Cholula
Humans and other animals

The Great Pyramid of Cholula

BBC: For an obscure temple no one’s heard of, Cholula holds an impressive array of records: it’s the largest pyramid on the planet, with a base four times larger than the Great Pyramid at Giza and nearly twice the volume.

Great Pyramid of Cholula model

Never mind the largest pyramid – it’s the largest monument ever constructed anywhere, by any civilisation, to this day. To locals it’s aptly known as Tlachihualtepetl (“man-made mountain”). Thanks to the church on top, it’s also the oldest continuously occupied building on the continent.

In fact it’s not one pyramid at all, but a great Russian doll of a construction, consisting of no less than six, one on top of the other. It grew in stages, as successive civilisations improved on what had already been built.

“They made a conscious effort to maintain and in some cases display previous construction episodes. This is pretty novel, and shows deliberate efforts to link to the past.”
David Carballo, archaeologist

See also

  • BBC Future: The giant pyramid hidden inside a mountainThis temple at Cholula dwarfs the Great Pyramid at Giza, yet it went unnoticed by Spanish invaders. Why?
  • Wikipedia: The Great Pyramid of Cholula, also known as Tlachihualtepetl (Nahuatl for “artificial mountain”), is a huge complex located in Cholula, Puebla, Mexico. It is the largest archaeological site of a pyramid (temple) in the New World, as well as the largest pyramid known to exist in the world today.
  • Traditions like Thanksgiving aren’t naturalThey’re invented, and at the time of their invention they called to a past that’s not really there. An imagined past; a constructed authenticity that serves the purposes of the present.
  • Mummy Brown and Other Historical Colors — Korwin Briggs looks at the history of some fascinating colours with this ‘digital approximation of paint-blobs-on-paper’.
  • Primitive Technology: Making a bow and arrowI made a bow and arrows in the wild using only natural materials and primitive tools I’d made previously from scratch (as usual). The tools used were a celt stone hatchet, a stone chisel, various stone blades and fire sticks.
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