Pyramids in Guatemala

Pyramid of Tikal

The Lost World Pyramid began as a small astronomical viewing platform which faced three structures to its east which marked, in turn, the position of the rising sun at the spring solstice (north building), the equinox (center building), and the winter solstice (south building)."The location of the Lost World Pyramid was first occupied in the earliest times of Tikal's settlement.

A pyramid with four stairs, one to each side, is called a radial pyramid, and the first version was built by 500 BC. The astronomical concept was formalized with new constructions between 500 and 250 BC in the Late Preclassic including a new radial platform and a new eastern platform, both much larger than the prototype from the Middle Preclassic. The importance of the east-west axis was established at this time by the placing of burials and caches along it. There is a contrast between this formal and ritual complex with that of the other major contemporary complex, the North Acropolis in which the ritual axis of importance to burials was north-south."

Reference: Peter Harrison, The Lords of Tikal

Pyramids in Tikal

Twin Pyramids in Guatemala

Tikal: Twin Pyramid Complex

Reconstruction drawing of Complex Q by Norman Johnson, made in 1959.

This pyramid is yet unfound. The stela enclosure is on the north side (top) with a nine-doorway palace on the south side. The flat-topped pyramids mark the east/west axis of the plaza. An emphasis on the world directions in twin-pyramid groups is obvious. The four structures are always placed in their proper sides of the plaza, so that no group is found in which the enclosure, for example, is to the south, east or west. The four-stairwayed pyramids are flat topped and do not favor any one direction. In themselves, they are fit stages for the ritualization of the four directions. The use of the number nine in twin-pyramid group activities is immediately suggested by the south building which always had nine doorways. One can imagine the appearance of the nine 'Lords of the Night' or of priests carrying nine items for sacrifice, and so forth.





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