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THE PYRAMIDS.

I have some suspicion that the real base lies below the level of the present soil, concealed by the wrecks cast down upon it, and by the gradual elevation of the plateau on which it stands. Almost the entire coating of lime, which, doubtless, cased the slopes as well as the terraces, has crumbled and disappeared, and in ascending, you climb over a rough and uneven surface, composed of porous scoria and amygdaloid, mixed with clay—jagged with spiny tufts and nopal trees, and strewed with fragments of pottery and obsidian.

The terraces, in many parts, still retain their exterior covering of salmon-coloured stucco.

Unlike the sharply pointed pyramids of Egypt,[1] these erections, in common with most of the teocallis of Mexico, were constructed in distinct stories, and terminated by a platform, upon which, probably, a small structure was erected.

On the summit of the House of the Moon, the ruins of such a building are to be seen; but all vestige, if such there were, has long ago disappeared from the platform of the larger pyramid.

In awaiting the arrival of my companions I had abundant time to take a minute survey of the remarkable scene around me.

The House of the Moon appeared, as I have already stated, about half a mile to the north, with two tumuli disposed at the two southern angles, and two intermediate ones on the southern base. A raised platform, or apron, forming a parallelogram of considerable size, extended in advance; with three small pyramids symmetrically ranged on one side, and seven or eight on the other. From the step at the termination of this apron, a broad, well-marked road, or vista, proceeded directly to the south, passing before the House of the Sun, which, like the lesser erection, squares exactly with the cardinal points, but stands rather more to the eastward.

  1. According to Pocock, one Egyptian pyramid, that of Sakhara, was precisely of this plan and construction.