Aztec Altar, Ancient Pot With Human Ashes Unearthed by Archeologists in Mexico City
Mexican archeologists found an Aztec altar dating back to the 16th century underneath a home near Plaza Garibaldi in Mexico City.
According to BBC, the Aztec altar dates back to the time after the Spanish conquest of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan.
Experts said it was discovered in a courtyard inside a home of an Aztec family, who would have used the altar to honor their dead. A pot containing human ashes was one of the items found at the altar.
Mexico's National Institute for Anthropology and History said the altar was discovered in August, but it was only announced on Tuesday after archeologists studied the site for three months.
The Aztec altar was believed to date back to the period between 1521 and 1610. Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes defeated the Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan in 1521.
Tenochtitlan's battle was considered as the start of the end of the Aztec empire, which ruled over the central Mexican highlands in its prime.
The archaeologists noted that the house's inhabitants would have held a ritual to witness the ending of a cycle of their lives and their civilization at the altar.
Aztec Altar in Mexico City
Archaeologist Mara Becerra said the Aztec altar was found 13 feet below the ground, below several layers of adobe mud. Daily Mail reported that the team of archaeologists also found 13 decorative incense burners used in the ancient rituals.
Becerra said the set of 13 incense burners show a certain symbolism since they were arranged on two levels in two different orientations.
The archaeologist noted that it was a symbolism of an evocation of the 20 thirteen that made up the tonalpohualli, which is the 260-day Mexican ritual calendar.
Becerra also said the number 13 "alluded to the levels of the sky." She added that the incense burners reinforce the Nahua conception of the universe, like the openwork cross of the incense cups regarded as the quincunx, which is a symbol of the axis mundi.
The house surrounding the altar features a large room connected by a corridor to five smaller rooms, one of which was believed to be a kitchen after experts found a giant fire pit at its center. One of the rooms still has the original stucco floors and walls.
Aztec Civilization in Mexico
The Aztec civilization is known for its agriculture techniques, which introduced irrigation, draining swamps, and artificial islands in lakes. Aside from agricultural practices, the Aztecs were also known for their human sacrifices, with the rationale of survival.
According to the History fact sheet, Aztec cosmology believed that the sun god Huitzilopochtli was fighting a constant war against darkness, and if it won, the world would end.
The Aztecs believed that they had to feed Huitzilopochtli with human hearts and blood to keep the sun moving across the sky and preserve their lives.
Spanish historian Fray Diego de Duran noted that 80,400 men, women, and children were sacrificed for the inauguration of the Templo Mayor under a previous Aztec emperor.
At the time, conquistador Andrés de Tapia described two rounded towers made of human skills seen flanking the Templo Mayor.
However, many historians dismissed the 16th-century reports as "wildly exaggerated propaganda" meant to justify the murder of Aztec emperor Moctezuma, the destruction of Tenochtitlán, and the enslavement of its people.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Mary Webber
WATCH: Mexico City Holds Ceremony to Mark the Fall of the Aztec Capital - From Daily Mail
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