MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Beneath downtown Mexico City, off the steps of what would have been the empire’s holiest temple, a large cache of Aztec ritual offerings is a pre-Hispanic religion. provide new insight into social rituals and political propaganda.
The contents of one box, sealed five centuries ago in a stone box at the base of the temple, was found in the exact center of the ceremonial amphitheater, containing a number of sea offerings from both the Pacific and Gulf coasts. broke the record of It contains over 165 once bright red starfish and over 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 Lopez 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 identified a warrior associated with Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec patron and god of war and the sun, before excavations were suspended for more than two years by the COVID-19 pandemic. I found a sacrificial jaguar dressed like this.
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 Ahuizotl, the greatest Aztec emperor who ruled from 1486 to 1502, shows a mysterious bulge in the middle under the jaguar skeleton, with something solid underneath. It shows that there is
“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 says he needs at least another year of digging to find a solution to 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 imperial expansion, warfare, military power, and domination in their sacred rituals.” It reveals “obvious connections between the roles of Conquered and allowed tribute to flow into the capital.
“Each serving box adds one more piece to the puzzle,” she said.
Finally, the skulls of more than a dozen children between the ages of one and six who had been sacrificed were also found in nearby burrows.
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 really getting to know the Aztecs on their own terms,” she said.
Reporting by David Alire Garcia. Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Josie Kao
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