Treasure Trove of Ancient Aztec War Sacrifices Found in Mexico City

The discovery of a treasure trove of ancient Aztec War offering recently found on the steps of the Templo Mayor, located in Mexico City could lead archaeologists to the most tantalizing find yet: an Aztec emperor’s tomb.

It is thought that the recently excavated offerings were deposited in the temple’s footsteps by Aztec priests, more than five hundred years ago.

And the trove of Aztec artifacts could lead archaeologists to one of the most amazing discoveries yet: the tomb of an Aztec emperor.

Among the items, archaeologists found a richly adorned jaguar dressed as an Aztec warrior as well as the skeleton of a young boy, dressed to resemble the Aztec war god and their Sun God.

The offerings also produced a set of flint knives decorated with precious stones.

REUTERS/Henry Romero

These offerings, say archaeologists, were deposited by priests more than five centuries ago on a circular platform located in front of the temple known as ‘Templo Mayor’, a place described by historians as the final resting place of the Aztec emperors.

This discovery would be a historical find, since no actual Aztec burial has ever been found, despite decades of excavations, leading experts to ask, where are all the Aztec Emperors buried?

Archaeologist Leonardo López Luján told Reuters that there are “many expectations at the moment” and that, as they deepen the investigation, they continue to find “very rich” historic pieces.

As explained by experts, the artifacts were found off the steps of the Aztec’s holiest temple during what is considered the reign of the empire’s most powerful ruler.

The offerings were most likely placed by Aztec priests more than five centuries ago in a circular, ritual platform.

The jaguar offering, which was found in a stone box, aroused particular excitement among experts. Although only one-tenth of this box has been analyzed, a large variety of artifacts related to emblems of the Aztec deity Huitzilopochtli have already been found.

Among the many offerings, experts have identified a layer of aquatic offerings, with shells, starfish and coral placed on top of the feline.

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

‘There’s an enormous amount of coral that’s blocking what we can see below,’ said archaeologist Miguel Baez, part of the team excavating the offerings at the base of the temple.

It is thought that the Templo Mayor would have been as high as a 15-story pyramid. However, it was razed along with the rest of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan after the Spanish Conquest of 1521.

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