Archeoastronomy- Chichen Itza

Located in Southeast Mexico, Chichen Itza served as the home to one of the largest Mayan cities and possesses pristine examples of complex archeoastronomy. Perhaps the most interesting structure is the pyamid El Castillo which translates to “the castle.” This pyramid serves as a prime example due to its complex engineering and design that highlights the Mayan’s fascination with the cosmos. This building was designed so that twice a year, during the spring and fall equinoxes, the shadow cast by the sun creates a serpentine like pattern that connects to a snakehead at the bottom.

Image result for el castillo shadow
An image of El Castillo casting its serpentine like shadow during an eclipse.

Each side of the pyramid consists of 91 steps, and when considering the top platform as an additional step, there are a total of 365 steps signifying an individual step for each day of the year. This complex design only serves as an example as to how the cosmos was studied and cherished thousands of years ago. If you would like to learn more about El Castillo, follow this link.

One thought on “Archeoastronomy- Chichen Itza

  1. Great post! Ancient civilizations probably had a MUCH bigger view of the night sky without the light pollution of cities today. How do you think we might change if we were able to re-attain that level of perspective on the night sky?


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