Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/48

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Xochicalco, seventy-five miles southwest of the city of Mexico. In the middle of a plain rises a cone-shaped height from three to four hundred feet high, whose base has an oval form two miles in circumference. Two tunnels piercing the side of the mound open towards the north; the first has been explored only eighty-two feet. The second penetrates the calcareous hill by a large gallery nine feet and a half high, with several branches in different directions. The ground is paved. The walls are supported by mason-work cemented and covered with red ochre. The principal gallery leads to a hall eighty feet long, whose ceiling is kept in place by the aid of two pilasters. In one corner of this hall is a little recess, excavated like the rest out of the solid rock, with an ogival dome of Gothic aspect.

So much for the interior. Outside are five successive terraces of mason-work sustained by walls surmounted by parapets. At the summit stand upon a broad platform the ruins of the temple for which the mound was apparently destined; it is a rectangular building constructed of blocks of porphyritic granite placed on each other without the aid of mortar, with such skill that the joinings were scarcely visible. In 1755 the temple still preserved five stories; at the top was a stone, which might have served as a seat, covered like the rest of the building with strange ornaments carved in the stone.

Works evidently for defence testify to the constant fighting which must have been waged over Anahuac. In the province of Vera Cruz, at Huatusco, there are traces of fortifications stretching towards