Mexico: Bigger Than Athens

For more than 1,000 years, the city stood empty in the barren, wind-blown valley, 34 miles northeast of where Mexico City now stands. Ever so slowly, its palaces and temples, splendid with brilliant murals and shell-thin pottery, disappeared beneath the sifting earth, until at last only a pair of massive, truncated pyramids and a few mounds remained to mark the city's grave. Even its name was forgotten.

The Aztecs, who came on the pyramids centuries later, called the site Teotihuacán—"the place where men become gods"—and avoided it in awe. Because the pyramids held no gold, the Spaniards were...

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