Almost Lost To History: A Forgotten Purpose of Pyramids

December 18, 2012

Among the lesser known, but highly important aspects of Pyramids…they were giant water collection systems. These systems were so highly developed, that 1500 years ago at nearby Uxmal, Mayan Architects went far beyond the necessary functional elements of design. Surviving long periods of drought and the absence of springs, rivers, and lakes nearby made it critical to store and collect water. As a result, a sophisticated network was constructed on a grand scale throughout the city and routed to underground cisterns. In many cases, Maya water collection systems are still functioning today! I wonder what will be working of our infrastructure 1500 years from now.

Its true Maya builders learned to blend both form and function. But they went even further. Together artists, scientists and builders learned to harmoniously—even playfully combine art, science and time into the architecture. Yes, time! But that’s another story. The result was superior for the day, and Uxmal represents one of the very earliest and most exquisite examples of this concept.

Check out this photo showing the base of the Pyramid at Uxmal showing a water collection channel below. You’ll notice too, the highly ornate detail made to elegantly catch and route water directionally into the trough.

Pyramid Aquaduct

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