Finding in the “Great Temple” opens expectation to find the tomb of an emperor

Tzompantli. Photo: INAH

MEXICO CITY (approx) – Offerings more than 500 years old were found during recent excavations on the steps of the Templo Mayor. The find, described by archaeologists as “the most tempting so far,” could open the way for the discovery of the tomb of an Aztec emperor of the Ahuízotl dynasty.

The jaguar offering is housed in a large rectangular stone box that would have been the centre of the circular platform.

Expectation has surrounded this event, as researchers have reported that, in addition to the components, which include a richly attired jaguar, a warrior and a small boy dressed as Huitzilopochtli, god of the sun and war, as well as a set of mother-of-pearl knives and precious stones stand out.

In addition, they were deposited by the Aztec priests in a circular ritual platform in front of the temple of the warrior god, where according to historical sources the remains of the Mexica kings rested.

To this day, despite more than 40 years of research and excavation (after the discovery of the Coyolxauhqui stone in February 1978), no Aztec burial has been found. Archaeologist Leonardo López Luján, current director of the Templo Mayor Project, initiated by his colleague and professor Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, told Reuters: “We have never found that and we have the enormous expectation… We suppose, as we go deeper, that we are going to continue finding very rich objects”.

It was detailed that the offering of the jaguar is inside a large rectangular stone box, of which only a tenth of the contents has been excavated. Various objects have been found, such as a carved wooden disc placed on the back of the jaguar, the emblem of the god Huitzilopochtli. At the same time, archaeologist Miguel Baez explained to the agency that there is a layer of aquatic offerings, such as shells, narrow sea and coral, which must be removed to know the full contents of the box.

Sources are cited from chroniclers several decades after the conquest, which detailed the funeral rituals of three Aztec rulers, the Ahuízotl brothers, who according to the descriptions were cremated and deposited with luxurious offerings and the hearts of slaves sacrificed near or on the circular platform.

The “Main Temple” would have been as high as a 15-story pyramid before being razed to the ground along with the rest of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan after the conquest in 1521

A monolith with the image of the goddess of the earth, with an inscription from 1502, had already been found in 2006, just when the last of the Ahuizotl brothers died, considered the greatest ruler of the empire, so, according to Elizabeth Boone, researcher at Tulane University, United States, Ahuizotl could be inside the box.

A smaller box was found with objects with copal bars and 21 flint knives carved with the figure of warriors, among others. It is presumed that the sacrificed child was nine years old and that his heart was torn out. It has a wooden disc of the god of war, a necklace of jade beads and wings made of sparrowhawk bones attached to his shoulders.

The work of excavation, subsequent analysis and research will continue in the coming months, although the announcement of the find served to remind that the government has cut 20% of the budget to the project, and that since last December the members of the team working on it have not received their payment.

 

The Yucatan Times
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