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News: Mexico
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Skulls are seen at the site where more than 650 such crania were found in a cylindrical edifice near Templo Mayor, in Mexico City. Photo Credit: Henry Romero/Reuters/The Guardian.
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by Archaeology Newsroom

Archaeologists reveal legendary tower of skulls

Findings change what was thought so far

Archaeological digs in Mexico City have revealed a legendary tower of skulls, near Aztec Templo Mayor. In the past two years excavations have unearthed 676 skulls and many skull fragments, at a  unique Tzompantli display.

Initially archaeologists believed that the Tzompantli were racks of skulls of warriors put on display but this excavation that has been going on for  two years showed that skulls of women and children were included in the pile. They were probably, archaeologists suppose ceremonial racks of victims heads in Mesoamerica.

The recently discovered tower of skulls was perhaps part of the Huey Tzompantli, the temple of the Aztec god of sun, war and human sacrifice. Huey Tzompantli was located in Tenochtitlan, the capital city of the Aztecs where now is Mexico City. According to accounts by Spanish conquistadors Bernal Diaz del Castillo and Andres de Tapia, the Huey Tzompantli was huge and contained thousands of skulls.

Researchers believe the structure could have once contained up to 60,000 skulls, and it was built sometime between 1485 and 1502. It was about 34 metres long and 12 metres wide, while some of the skulls were cemented together to support the platform.

The number of skulls is expected to rise as excavations continue and researchers hope it will shed some light in this practice for which, as it seems, we do not know much.

NOTES