The tower of human skulls found in the center of Mexico City has raised new questions about the culture of sacrifice in the Aztec empire. In the structure of the structure were found the remains of women and children.
Employees of the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico discovered a tower made of skulls of men, women and children. It took scientists more than two years to search, and the discovery itself provides new knowledge about the culture of the Aztecs, reports Reuters on Monday, July 3.
More than 650 skulls were found in Mexico City, not far from the place where the ancient Temple Templo Mayor, also known as the pyramid of the Aztec sun god and the Huitsilpochtli war, was located before the Spaniards entered the country.
From skulls turned out a structure with a diameter of six meters. According to scientists, before being placed in a tower, the heads separated from the bodies were put up on a companion - special racks that existed in a number of Mesoamerican civilizations.
The discovery of archaeologists is truly terrifying: the tower consists of more than 650 human skulls.The bones were found under the Templo Memorial, one of the main temples in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, which later became Mexico City.
The legend of a tower of human remains for several centuries terrified Mexicans, but there has so far been no direct evidence of its existence.
But today, historians recognize that some of the previous ideas about the culture of the Aztecs will have to be abandoned. According to legends, the skulls of the enemies defeated in the battle were piled up in the towers, and in the discovered column they found not only male, but also female and children's remains. This led to the conclusion that the found fragments of bodies could belong to people sacrificed to the gods.
According to the surviving descriptions of the Spanish conquistador Andres de la Tapia, who participated in the conquest of Mexico with the troops of Hernán Cortes, the tower consisted of tens of thousands of skulls. Currently, only the remains of 676 people have been found, but scientists say the excavations are not over and new discoveries are expected in the future. Researchers suggest that the tower found is only part of a massive complex of similar structures.
The Spaniards, led by Cortes, landed on the east coast of Mexico in 1519. Two years later, they managed to destroy the Aztec capital, the city of Tenochtitlan, on the site of which modern Mexico City grew.
Historians have suggested that the remains of defeated warriors were placed on the walls. But the find speaks of something else.
Excavations were carried out at Templo Mayor, one of the largest temples in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City).
“We expected that there would be only the skulls of men, young people who were warriors. Participation in battles can hardly be expected from women and children, ”said Rodrigo Bolaños, an anthropologist studying the find. In connection with this discovery, researchers have put forward another version: perhaps the tower is associated with the rituals of human sacrifice. The Aztecs believed that the shed blood fills the sun god with forces to fight the darkness.
The tower reached almost six meters in diameter and was installed at the foot of the monument to the god Huitzilopochtkli - the patron of the Aztec capital, the god of the sun and war.
The cylindrical tower of human skulls is mentioned in the report of the Spanish conquistador Andres de Tapia, who accompanied Cortes in the conquest of Mexico in 1521.
Archaeologists have not yet excavated the base of the temple, and how many human remains there can be is unknown.
676 skulls have already been found, and archaeologists are confident that there will be many more. At the same time, among the skulls there are not only male, but also female and children's, which introduces new information about the customs of the Aztecs - it was previously believed that predominantly captured male warriors were sacrificed. Archaeologists suggest that the skulls were composed of a corner tower of the temple Hucillopochtli, the Aztec god of the sun, war and human sacrifice.
The diameter of the tower is 60 meters. In 1521, this very building, experts suggest, was described by Andres de Tapia, a soldier and chronicler of Cortes.
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