Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/517

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examine it, for he will find sun-baked bricks and mortar where-ever any portion has been exposed. Whether these bricks form the entire structure is an important question for archaeologists to answer; the only way to settle it is by driving a tunnel beneath it, at the base, from one side to the other. Various attempts have been made, by excavating, but have not resulted in penetrating much beyond the surface; on all sides, however, are seen these great bricks, and, until the tunnel is run beneath it, we must assume that the entire structure is artificial, and not a natural hill faced with brick. Its height is nearly two hundred feet, and at the summit is a church, reached by steps built into the irregular sides of the hill, the path winding up the western slope, past perpendicular ranges of adobe, beneath various pepper trees, and through green bits of pasture which cover the ancient playgrounds of the Cholulans.

In the cutting of a new road, at one time, a square chamber was revealed, it is said, built of stone, with a roof of cypress beams, and containing some idols of stone, the remains of two bodies, and several painted vases. Humboldt gives this pyramid the same height as that of the Pyramid of the Sun, at Teotihuacan, and says it is three metres higher than that of Mycerinus, or the third of the great Egyptian pyramids of the group of Djizeh. Its base, however, is larger than that of any hitherto discovered by travellers in the Old World, and is double that of the Pyramid of Cheops. It is, doubtless, as he claims, entirely a work of art, but it is celebrated more for its breadth of base than its height.

Its situation on the Mexican table land is at a distance of seventy miles south-southeast of the city of Mexico, and at an elevation of 6,912 feet above the level of the sea. Humboldt, who used simply a barometer, gives its height as 164 feet; while the measurements of some officers of the American army, made by means of the sextant, determined its true height to be 204 feet, and its base 1,060. The breadth of its truncated apex is 165 feet, and here, where the ancients had erected a shrine to Quetzalcoatl,—"God of the Air," or the "Feathered Serpent,"—the Spaniards later built a church under the patronage of the