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XOCHICALCO.

in the centre of which we found the ruins of the remarkable altar, or teocalli, which has been the principal object of speculation or attention.

Though evidently formed upon the same general principles with the other ancient pyramidal structures of New Spain, it differs from every other erection of the class hitherto discovered in Mexico—the pyramid of Papantla excepted—by being wholly constructed of large regularly hewn and symmetrically laid masses of hard and richly sculptured rock, instead of layers of unburnt bricks, or piles of earth and stone.

In its perfect state, which it preserved till a comparatively recent date, it is said to have consisted of seven distinct stories, diminishing of course in size, but of precisely similar construction. Of these we now only found the lower story, and portions of the second, remaining in their original position; the hewn stones composing the remainder having been wantonly moved and carried off, little more than a century ago, by the proprietors of the sugar plantations in the neighbourhood, for the foundation of their haciendas.

The base lines of the lowest square, which correspond to the cardinal points, may be fifty feet in length; and the height of the first story from the, present level of the hollow square in which it stands, eight or nine feet.

One remarkable fact is, that instead of the wall rising at right angles from the base, it inclines inward, to the height of six feet, with a variation of perhaps fifteen degrees from the perpendicular, when the completion of the story is effected by perpendicular masses, sculptured in like manner, being placed so as to project out severed inches from the line of those immediately below; a rude analogy of outline with the Egyptian architecture, that must immediately strike you. It is to be supposed that every story was constructed in a similar manner.

The chief characteristics of the sculpture, are its decision of outline and boldness of relief. The hardness of the dark basaltic stone in which they are cut, has preserved its freshness without the slightest appearance of decay.

To describe the character of the isolated figures, is