Mexico is home to countless pyramids that have served as the centerpieces of thriving ancient civilizations. One of Mexico’s oldest and most curious pyramids is Cuicuilco, which is located in the shadow of several modern buildings in Mexico City. Archeologists believe that the people who built Cuicuilco settled in the region around 1400 BC. Cuicuilco was an agricultural settlement that flourished for centuries, until a volcanic eruption killed many residents and destroyed much of the area. Those who survived the eruption fanned out across Mexico, and helped to found new settlements. The grand city of Teotihuacan—which features several of Mexico’s most impressive pyramids—is believed have been built largely by descendants of those who fled from Cuicuilco.
Archaeologists have unearthed a few vital artifacts from Cuicuilco, including a rough-hewn stone statue of a figure known as the old god of fire which was found outside of Cuicuilco. It is not surprising that a group of people who lived below an active volcano worshiped a god that they believed wielded fire. Aside from their attachment to the fire god, little is known about the people of Cuicuilco. A circular pyramid and a few scattered artifacts are all that survived the volcanic eruption.
Visitors can survey Cuicuilco’s rocky exterior, and walk up the side of the pyramid to explore what remains of the interior. The pyramid’s roof collapsed long ago, but ancient stone walls and steps still remain. There is a museum near the pyramid that showcases items such as fertility statues and necklaces which have been unearthed near Cuicuilco. Archaeologists continue to study Cuicuilco to search for clues about Mesoamerica’s distant past. Countless history enthusiasts agree that Cuicuilco potentially holds the answers to many questions about how ancient civilizations like Teotihuacan ultimately flourished. One of Mexico’s most captivating ruins quietly rests waiting to be explored.