Pyramids In America

Pyramids were built in Mexico and Central America as religious ceremonial centers as early as 1,000 B.C. The earliest ones were little more than mounds of dirt and clay. Eventually, more elaborate structures were built by facing mounds with stone slabs and by erecting stairways, and by building small structures on the apexes.

The best-known Mexican pyramid is the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacán, built sometime in the first century A.D. It has a base of about 700 feet (213 m) on each side and is 213 feet (65 m) high, rising in four stages marked by terraces. The largest known pyramid in the Western Hemisphere was built over a period of hundreds of years at Cholula, Mexico. In its final form it had a base that covered about 40 acres (16 hectares) and a height of 181 feet (55 m).

The Maya Indians of the Yucatán region of Mexico and of Central America were the Western Hemisphere's most productive builders of pyramids. Most were built during the height of their civilization, from about 300 A.D. to about 900 A.D. Their most impressive pyramids are at Uxmal and Chichén-Itzá in the Yucatán and Tikal in Guatemala. Later Indian civilizations, such as the Toltec, Zapotec, and Aztec, also built pyramids.