A Lost City covered by Lava | The Circular Pyramid of Cuicuilco

Discovered in 1920 by archaeological Manuel Gamio, the Great Pyramid of Cuicuilco was the most important structure of this lost ancient city of Mesoamerica, lost because it caught the full force of a volcano many centuries ago.

The circular pyramid is located on the southern shore of Lake Texcoco in the southeastern Valley of Mexico, and is made up of four platforms and is covered in stone. It’s 23 metres or 75 feet high, has a diameter of 135 metres or 443 feet and a volume of 60,000 cublic metres or 2 million cubic feet of material.


It sat within a plaza of smaller structures associated with the agricultural way of life. A stone altar was found on top of the circular pyramid-like structure. This was aligned with the equinox sunrise and we know it was once painted red and was likely a place of sacrifice. Some believe it was the site of fire rituals.


It’s one of the first pyramids to be built in Mexico but the structure and surrounding urban settlement were affected by huge lava flows more than 1,400 years ago. After their city was destroyed by a volcano, the people fled to Teotihuacan just as it rose to become a mighty power in Ancient Mexico.


Watch this video to learn more about the unique circular pyramid of Cuicuilco.


All images are taken from Google Images and the below sources for educational purposes only.

Matt Sibson
Ancient Architects