A large cache of Aztec ritual offerings discovered beneath downtown Mexico City, off the steps of what would have been the empire’s holiest shrine, is a reference to pre-Hispanic religious ceremonies and political propaganda. It provides new insights.
500 years ago, the contents of one box that was sealed in a stone box at the foot of the temple was Round The ceremonial arena broke records for the number of sea offerings from both the Pacific and off the Gulf Coast, including more than 165 once-red-hot starfish and more than 180 full-enclosure branches.
Archaeologists say Aztec priests carefully layered these offerings in boxes within elevated platforms for a ceremony likely attended by thousands of enthusiastic spectators amid the thunder of drums. believe.
“It’s pure imperial propaganda,” said Leonardo López Lujan, chief archaeologist for Project Templo Mayor of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), which oversees the excavation.
In the same box, archaeologists previously linked the Aztec patron god Huitzilopochtli (the god of war and the sun) before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a moratorium on excavations for more than two years. I found a sacrificial jaguar dressed like a warrior.
Previously unreported details include a sacrificial eagle found last month held in a jaguar’s clutch, a small wooden spear and a reed shield next to a west-facing feline. Includes what was found in
A half-excavated rectangular box dating to the reign of Emperor Avitzotl, who ruled from 1486 to 1502, now shows a mysterious bulge in the middle under the jaguar’s skeleton, with something solid underneath. It shows that
“What’s under the Jaguar is a very important one,” Lopez Roujan said. “We expect great discoveries.”
López Lujan, who is leading excavations at what is now known as the Templo Mayor, believes that the box may contain an urn containing Ahuitzotl’s cremated remains. Ahuizotl expanded his empire into modern-day Guatemala in military campaigns, linking Mexico’s Pacific and Gulf coasts. .
But he said it will take at least another year of digging to solve the problem.
Aztec world view
To this day, no Aztec royal tombs have been found, despite over 40 years of excavations around the Templo Mayor, where more than 200 offering boxes have been found.
The temple stood as tall as a 15-story building before being demolished in the years following the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 1521.
In addition to the central offering containing Jaguar, two additional boxes were recently confirmed flanking it, both expected to open in the coming weeks.
There could be more ferocious animals dressed as warriors, perhaps adorned with jade, turquoise and gold.
The aquatic offerings covering the jaguar may represent a watery underworld where the Aztecs believed the sun set each night, or perhaps part of the king’s journey after death.
Joyce Marcus, an archaeologist specializing in ancient Mexico at the University of Michigan, said the recently unearthed offerings reflect the Aztecs’ “worldview, ritual economy, and the relationship between empire expansion, warfare, military power, and the role of rulers.” It is said that the ‘obvious connection’ is revealed in sanctified rituals. Conquered and allowed tribute to flow into the capital.
“Each offering box adds one piece of the puzzle,” she said.
Finally, the skulls of 12 sacrificed children between the ages of one and six were also found in nearby burrows. This goes back decades, but is also associated with the god Huitzilopochtli.
According to Aztec scholar Diana Moreiras of the University of British Columbia, the information gleaned from the excavations goes far beyond imperfect colonial accounts colored by the European invaders’ own justifications for conquest.
“We’re getting to know the Aztecs really well in their own words,” she said.