The Lost Kingdoms of Central America concludes with the “Place Where Time Began.” Dr. Jago Cooper explores the Teotihuacan civilization. For hundreds of years, it was the biggest state in the world. They built huge pyramids. They were an empire in the fullest sense of the world. They pre-dated the Aztec civilization. However, nobody knows the identity of this civilization. Archeologists are spending time trying to piece together this civilization. Dr. Cooper tries to find out more about this final mysterious civilization.
2,000 years ago Teotihuacan dominated the Ancient American world. Teotihuacan’s influence would spread to other empires. Teotihuacan’s rulers built grand monuments. What drew people to Teotihuacan? How did the Teotihuacan rulers consolidate their power? What drove the Teotihuacan people to dominate the world? Why did it grow so influential? Dr. Cooper seeks to understand this civilization. Teotihuacan was situated in the high plains of Mexico. It grew into a large city-state. Little is known about Teotihuacan.
Teotihuacan was one of the many settlements in the Mexico basin. It grew rapidly. The Teotihuacan civilization eventually smothered the several settlements around it. Other settlements ended due to a volcanic eruption. Cities around the volcano ended up being covered in 10 meters of lava. The volcanic eruptions scared the people. As a result, the people left their cities to look for safety. Eventually Teotihuacan grew. The Teotihuacan rulers could provide a measure of safety the other settlements could not.
How did this civilization survive in this environment? They lived on several volcanos. The rains and flooding were unpredictable. The people looked to their rulers. The rulers were in charge of the rain. They kept the rain coming or not coming. The religious system mattered to the people. The community was above the individual. If the people followed their leaders, then all would be well. There was one ritual that kept the people going: human sacrifice. Archeologists discovered remains in one of the temples. The bones showed how they were sacrificed. There was a blow to the head and then the heads were removed from the body. Then the heads were placed in the pyramid of the Moon. Teotihuacan was huge and control the population proved to be a challenge to the rulers. So, human sacrifice was also used as a political tool to control the population.
Additionally, the rulers controlled their empire through trade. This brought in new ideas and materials into the empire. The Teotihuacan people dealt in the obsidian trade. It is a volcanic rock used to create tools for cutting. Obsidian was a rare rock, and it was highly valued by the Teotihuacan people. Dr. Cooper goes in search of the source for obsidian. Obsidian was found in 50-ton blocks and they would be cut down into smaller sections to be carried out. Then the people would make tools and weapons out of obsidian. The spearheads that were created were incredibly sharp and deadly. Teotihuacan also expanded their empire through battle.
How did this civilization go up in flames? Why did the Teotihuacan collapse? What happened to its people? Why is finding out about this civilization so hard? Dr. Jago explores the reasons why Teotihuacan collapsed. If you want to continue to learn more about Teotihuacan continue to watch the documentary.
Beware that there are sound and freezing issues with this video if you want to use this video in the classroom. If this bothers the class, then just use this video for clips. This documentary is highly recommended for a history classroom. If you want to give your students a break from studying the Aztecs, then this is a good documentary to show in the classroom.
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