Mexico finds large, unusual Aztec burial site
2012 08 09

From: Associated Press

Mexican archaeologists say they have found an unprecedented human burial in which the skeleton of a young woman is surrounded by piles of 1,789 human bones in Mexico City’s Templo Mayor.

Researchers found the burial about 15 feet below the surface, next to the remains of what may have been a "sacred tree" at one edge of the plaza, the most sacred site of the Aztec capital.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History said the find was the first of its kind, noting the Aztecs were not known to use mass sacrifice or the reburial of bones as the customary ways to accompany the interment of a member of the ruling class.


Image shows a human burial that was found next to what may have been a "sacred tree" at one edge of the plaza in Mexico City’s Templo Mayor, the most sacred site of the Aztec capital


University of Florida archaeologist Susan Gillespie, who was not involved in the project, called the find "unprecedented for the Aztec culture."

She said Tuesday that when the Mayas interred sacrifice victims with royal burials, they were usually found as complete bodies, not jumbles of different bone types as in this case. And, except for special circumstances, the Aztecs, unlike other pre-Hispanic cultures, usually cremated members of the elite during their rule from 1325 to the Spanish conquest in 1521.

"Although the bodies of sacrificial victims have been found in burials of elite persons in Mesoamerica going back to at least the Preclassic period, funerary deposits for Aztec elites have only rarely been encountered," Gillespie wrote in an email.

The institute said some of the bones showed what may be cut marks to the sternum or vertebrae, places where a ritual heart extraction might leave a mark, but added that it didn’t seem likely the dead were sacrificed on the spot to accompany the burial because their bones were found separated.

The researchers discovered the skulls of seven adults and three children in one pile, long bones like femurs in another grouping, and ribs in another.

Physical anthropologist Perla Ruiz, who was in charge of the dig, said that might suggest the bones were disinterred from previous burials and reburied with the woman. While some pre-Hispanic cultures disinterred bones as part of ancestor worship, it isn’t clear the Aztecs did.

The burial dates to about 1481 to 1486, based on the "stage" of temple buildings at which they were found. The Templo Mayor, like many sites, was rebuilt by successive generations, one stage atop another.

Another unusual finding was the "sacred tree," actually a rather battered oak trunk found "planted" on a small, round platform near the burial at what would have been the edge of the temple complex. It may be a couple of decades older than the burial.

The Aztecs, like other pre-Hispanic cultures, venerated trees, believing they had spiritual importance.


[...]


Read the full article at: cbsnews.com






Related Articles
Mexico unearths monolith of Aztec God
Skullduggery, Indiana Jones? Museum says crystal skull not Aztec
Aztec pyramid found in Mexico City could rewrite history
Snake-Bird Gods Fascinated Both Aztecs and Pharaohs
Mexico has yet to ID any of the 49 bodies found 2 months ago
25,000 year-old human footprints found in Mexico


Latest News from our Front Page

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »