The word Xochitécatl is Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. It means "home of the flower lineage", and is pronounced "So-shee-tek-atl." The site was built more than 1500 years before the Aztecs arrived in the area, and what the original inhabitants called it is unknown. The Pyramid of Flowers, Serpent Temple, and Spiral Pyramid all date back to the Middle Preclassic era (800 BC - 300 BC), making early Xochitécatl contemporary with the Olmec Civilization, the "Mother of Cultures." Except for one significant gap in time, people used the site from then until around 950 AD, when the Classic era civilizations all over Mesoamerica collapsed. Between 150 AD and 600 AD, the site was abandoned because of the eruption of the nearby, and still-active, Popocatépetl volcano. The volcanos Iztaccihuatl and La Malinche are also visible from the site. Between 600 AD and 950 AD, the ruins were reoccupied by the people of Cacaxtla as a subsidiary ceremonial site. During this period, the Platform of the Volcanos was constructed and the Pyramid of Flowers was used for the ritual sacrifice of children. Even though Xochitécatl was abandoned again about 950 AD, there is evidence that ritual activity continued well into the Spanish Colonial period, and may continue even today. Major archaeological work did not occur until very recently, in 1993-94.
The Spiral Pyramid
The Serpent Temple