Mexico Metropolis’s “tower of skulls” may inform us about pre-Columbian life

Mexico City’s “tower of skulls” could tell us about pre-Columbian life

Final month, archaeologists in Mexico Metropolis unearthed the jap façade of a tower of skulls close to the 700-year-old web site of the Templo Mayor, the primary temple within the former Aztec capital metropolis of Tenochtitlan. It’s a morbidly sensational discover, but it surely’s additionally a possible treasure trove of details about the individuals who died at Tenochtitlan within the metropolis’s closing centuries. Right here’s what the skulls within the tower may inform us if we ask them—and why we might should ask very rigorously.

Archaeologists discovered 119 skulls constructed into the construction, a morbid addition to the 484 skulls discovered on the northeast aspect of the tower, which archaeologists rediscovered in 2015. Since 2015, excavations have reached 3.5 meters under fashionable road degree, into the layers of floor as soon as trod by Aztec clergymen, onlookers, and sacrificial victims. From these excavations, we now know that the 4.7 meter (15.4ft) tall tower was in-built a minimum of three phases, beginning within the 15th century.

The close by Templo Mayor as soon as housed essential shrines to the war-god Huitzilopochtli and the rain and farming god Tlaloc. Lots of the victims sacrificed to the 2 gods most likely ended up as constructing blocks for the tower, correctly often known as the Huei Tzompantli, close by. A tzompantli is a wood scaffold for displaying skulls (precisely because the title suggests if you happen to occur to talk Nahuatl; the phrase means one thing alongside the strains of “cranium rack” or “wall of skulls”). The temple district of Tenochtitlan as soon as boasted a minimum of seven of them.

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