Archaeologists Unearth 119 More Sacrifices at Aztec 'Tower of Skulls'

An archaeological discovery made years ago just got a grisly update.
Derya Ozdemir

Archeologists have discovered further sections of an Aztec tower of human skulls dating back to the 1400s, which was first discovered years ago during the restoration of a building in Mexico City, according to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Years after the discovery of the northeastern side, the new discovery was made public when an eastern section of the skull rack, known as Huey Tzompantli, was unearthed.

Archaeologists Unearth 119 More Sacrifices at Aztec 'Tower of Skulls'
Source: INAH

INAH announced 119 more human skulls belonging to men, women, and children have been uncovered.

History engraved in skulls

Huey Tzompantli is located in the area of the Templo Mayor which is one of the main temples of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan. Archeologists believe that the skull rack is meant for the Aztec god of the sun, war, and human sacrifice.

Archaeologists Unearth 119 More Sacrifices at Aztec 'Tower of Skulls'
Source: INAH

When it was first discovered, the tower had surprised anthropologists and archeologists who had been expecting to find the skulls of young male warriors, per BBC. However, the tower had the skulls of women and children, too; which made human sacrifice come to mind. 

Archaeologist Raul Barrera explained to Reuters, "Although we can't say how many of these individuals were warriors, perhaps some were captives destined for sacrificial ceremonies.

However, according to Barrera, they were all made sacred by being turned into "gifts for the gods or even personifications of deities themselves."


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484 human skulls were previously identified at the site, dating back to a period between 1486 and 1502. The recent numbers have taken the total up to 675

"The Templo Mayor continues to surprise us, and the Huey Tzompantli is without doubt one of the most impressive archaeological finds of recent years in our country," Mexican Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto said.

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