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Museum Collections - Mesoamerica - Classic Veracruz

Pyramid of the Niches

Our understanding of the early history of Veracruz, like that of some other early cultures of Central Mexico, is far from complete. Although we know that the Totonac occupied the central Gulf Coast in late times, the peoples of the area in Preclassic and Early Classic times remain unidentified.

To the left is the Late Classic "Pyramid of the Niches" at El Tajín, a Gulf Coastal site in the state of Veracruz. This pyramid is a remarkable temple constructed with 365 stone niches, which are believed to coincide with the days of the solar year.

In the 14th and 15th centuries the people of Veracruz, like their counterparts on the far-distant west coast of Mexico, came under the Aztec yoke. The Aztecs controlled the region by maintaining a military presence and exacting tribute until A.D. 1521, when the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors disrupted native life forever.

Photograph © Phillip Baird www.anthroarcheart.org

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