Ancient Aztec ball game field recently discovered in downtown Mexico City

MEXICO CITY — Archaeologist from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) discovered an ancient Aztec ball game field located at the heart of what used to be the city of Tenochtitlan, which was hidden under the pavement of Calle República de Guatemala, in the middle of Mexico City’s historic center.

The discovery was done by the team of the Urban Archaeology Program (PAU) that works to save the ancient structures under the Historic Center of Mexico City. The first part of the structure was uncovered in 2014; the archaeologist at the time, Lorena Vázquez Vallín, identified a long platform on the western side of the area, and 6.42 meters south from the Ehécatl Temple.

Two stairways were also found on the north side of the ball game field, each staircase had four steps and its own sidewalk.  Behind one of the floors from the northern stairway, researchers found an offering made up of human cervical bones; most of them once belonged to children and young people.

ARCHAEOLOGIST FOUND AN ANCIENT BALL GAME FIELD UNDER MEXICO CITY (Imagen Original: Boletín N°23. Fuente: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia)

The anthropologist María García Velasco and the archaeologists Fernando Orduña Gómez and Lorena Vázquez Vallín told the media that compared to other offerings found in Tenochtitlan, this has small knives and maguey stalks, elements which indicate a ritual sacrifice.

It is possible that some of these people were sacrificed as tribute to the gods, a kind of ‘feast’ for life”, said María García Velasco

According to historical facts recovered from the codex, the ancient ball game was related to sacrifice and fertility; let’s remember that for the Mexican peoples, bones and blood were sacred elements necessary for the continuity of life.