El Tepozteco, an archaeological site in the Mexican state of Morelos, consists of a small temple to the Aztec god Tepoztecatl – a god of the alcoholic pulque beverage. In time the temple became important enough to attract pilgrims from as far away as Guatemala, although the cult of Tepoztecatl was local to this site.
The temple consists of a 6.4-metre-high platform, supporting a 3.3-metre-high temple base. Upon this stands the temple building, the remains of which now is 2.7 metres high. The temple was formed of two rooms.
The first room opened onto the temple stairs, with two pillars flanking the entrance. In the centre of this room a small hollow was found, containing traces of charcoal and copal. The entry to the small inner sanctum was also flanked by two pillars. The sculpture of Tepoztecatl was probably kept in this room.
In the ruins of the temple two fallen stones with glyphs were found; one stone bears the name of the eighth Aztec emperor Ahuizotl, the other one contains the calendrical date “10 rabbit”. This date represents the year 1502 AD, the year that the emperor died. From this, some archaeologists have concluded that this was the year in which the temple was built.
Other archaeologists suggest that these stones were added later to commemorate the death of the Aztec emperor. Another interpretation views the temple as having been built by the Aztecs after they conquered Tepoztlan, to commemorate the victories of Ahuizotl. The temple was modified several times during its history. The first modifications consisted of narrowing the entrance to the inner sanctum by building flanking walls against the formerly free-standing inner pillars. The second, and most important modification, was the addition of stone benches and a small projecting cornice. On the cornice are bas-reliefs of the glyphs of the 20 days of the sacred tonalpohualli calendar. Other glyphs include a turquoise crown and a shield with arrows, which have led investigators to conclude that the benches were built by the Triple Alliance (an alliance of three Nahua city-states: Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan), some time after 1452 AD, the year when the Alliance conquered Tepoztlan.