Aztec war sacrifices found in Mexico may point to elusive royal tomb | Eurasia Diary -

17 July, Wednesday

Aztec war sacrifices found in Mexico may point to elusive royal tomb

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A trove of Aztec sacrifices including a richly adorned jaguar dressed as a warrior and recently discovered in downtown Mexico City could lead archaeologists to the most tantalizing find yet: an Aztec emperor’s tomb.

Discovered off the steps of the Aztec’s holiest temple during the reign of the empire’s most powerful ruler, the sacrificial offerings also include a young boy, dressed to resemble the Aztec war god and solar deity, and a set of flint knives elaborately decorated with mother of pearl and precious stones.

The offerings were deposited by Aztec priests over five centuries ago in a circular, ritual platform once located in front of the temple where the earliest historical accounts describe the final resting place of Aztec kings.

None of these details have been reported before and such a discovery would mark a first since no Aztec royal burial has yet been found despite decades of digging.


“We have enormous expectations right now,” lead archaeologist Leonardo Lopez Lujan told Reuters. “As we go deeper we think we’ll continue finding very rich objects.”The jaguar offering, found in a large rectangular stone box in what would have been the center of the circular platform, has stirred particular excitement.

Only about one-tenth of the box’s contents has been excavated, but already a wide array of artifacts has been found near the top, including a spear thrower and a carved wooden disk placed on the feline’s back that was the emblem of the Aztec patron deity Huitzilopochtli, the war and sun god. A layer of aquatic offerings placed on top of the west-facing jaguar has also been identified, including a large number of shells, bright red starfish and coral that likely represented the watery underworld the Aztecs believed the sun traveled through at night before emerging in the east to begin a new day.


A roseate spoonbill, a pink bird from the flamingo family, has also been found in the offering. It was associated with warriors and rulers and thought to represent their spirits in their descent into the underworld.


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