The Archaeology of Tomb Raider

Sharp-eyed gamers may have noticed that the same colossal sculptures appear repeatedly throughout the Peruvian levels of the original Tomb Raider (1996), most notably in the Tomb of Qualopec. These sculptures are, in fact, based on the real-life Atlantes, or Atlantean pillars, found at Tula, a Postclassic archaeological site in the Mexican state of Hidalgo.**

The four Atlantes of Tula are basalt pillars carved in the form of Toltec warriors and are thought to have once supported the roof of the Temple of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli (“The Morning Star”), which once stood atop Pyramid B. The warriors themselves can be seen wearing their full battle regalia: butterfly-shaped breastplates, feathered headdresses, spears, spear throwers (or atlatl), decorative sandals, and sun-disks on their backs. It is thought that the warriors represent the god Quetzalcoatl in his manifestation as Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli, the warrior Lord of the House of the Dawn who…

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