Archaeological remains have been discovered in Mexico City, the result of three decades of archaeological fieldwork. The newly discovered sacrificial offerings have led archaeologists to believe a first-of-its-kind discovery has been made in the city. No burials of Aztec emperors have ever been found. The selection of artefacts was unearthed at the site of one of the ancient American civilisation’s most holy places.
These promising finds came from an expedition at the Templo Mayor, a once heavily significant temple at the heart of Aztec culture in ancient capital city Tenochtitlan.
Once, the temple may have stood as high as a 15-story pyramid, but it was destroyed when Spanish Conquistadors invaded in 1521.
Archaeologists found a wealth of objects there associated with the highest rulers of the Aztec Empire.
Finds consisted of a young boy dressed to resemble the Aztec war god and solar deity, a set of elaborately decorated flint knives, and a jaguar sacrifice.
These offerings were deposited on a circular ritual platform at the foot of the temple by Aztec high priests more than five centuries ago.
Early historical accounts describe this location as the final resting place of Aztec kings, and until now archaeologists have had no luck at the site.
Lead archaeologist Leonardo Lopez Lujan told Reuters about his optimism going forward with the dig.
He said: ”We have enormous expectations right now. As we go deeper we think we’ll continue finding very rich objects.”
A jaguar sacrificial offering was found in what would have been the centre of the circular platform, which has particularly excited archaeologists.
The slow process of excavating means only one-tenth of the box containing the sacrifice has yet been excavated, but already a wealth of objects have been revealed.
A spear thrower (known as an atlatl) was found inside, as well as a carved wooden disc placed on the back of the once fierce predator.
This is thought to be an emblem of the most important Aztec deity, Huitzilopochtli, patron God of war and the Sun.
A roseate spoonbill – a pink bird associated with warriors and rulers – was also found in the pit, and has been associated with the descent of spirits into the underworld.
Archaeologist Miguel Baez, a member of the team excavating this pit, said: “There’s an enormous amount of coral that’s blocking what we can see below.”
Next to the jaguar offering lies another smaller box, layered by copal bars, commonly used by Aztec priests for incense.
Another stone box has been identified, which holds 21 flint knives and another war god disc, this time made of mother of pearl, as well as an atlatl and shield.
An adjacent feature holds the burial of the sacrificed nine-year-old boy, found with another disc, a jade necklace and wings of hawk bone attached to his shoulders.