Aztec in the News ...





Ancient People of Teotihuacan Drank Milky Alcohol, Pottery Suggests   Live Science - September 15, 2014
Ancient pottery confirms people made and drank a milky alcoholic concoction at one of the largest cities in prehistory, Teotihuacan in Mexico, researchers say. This liquor may have helped provide the people of this ancient metropolis with essential nutrients during frequent shortfalls in staple foods, scientists added. The ancient city of Teotihuacan, whose name means "the city of the gods" in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs, was the largest city in the Americas before the arrival of Christopher Columbus. At its zenith, Teotihuacan encompassed about 8 square miles (20 square kilometers) and supported an estimated population of 100,000 people, who raised giant monuments such as the Temple of Quetzalcoatl and the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon.




One-of-a-Kind Aztec Dog Burials Found in Mexico   National Geographic - February 18, 2014

Archaeologists in Mexico City have made an extraordinary discovery -- the skeletons of 12 dogs all mysteriously buried together more than 500 years ago, in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. Dog burials have been uncovered before at archaeological digs, but this is a first such finding not associated with a building or a human burial, according to a report published in Spanish last week by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).




Aztec conquest altered genetics among early Mexico inhabitants, new DNA study shows   PhysOrg - January 31, 2013

For centuries, the fate of the original Otomí inhabitants of Xaltocan, the capital of a pre-Aztec Mexican city-state, has remained unknown. Researchers have long wondered whether they assimilated with the Aztecs or abandoned the town altogether. The answers may lie in DNA. Following this line of evidence, the researchers theorize that some original Otomies, possibly elite rulers, may have fled the town. Their exodus may have led to the reorganization of the original residents within Xaltocan, or to the influx of new residents, who may have intermarried with the Otomí population.




Pictures: "Important" Aztec Child Burials Found in Mexico City   National Geographic - August 1, 2012

Physical anthropologist Jorge Arturo Talavera Gonzalez examines 1 of 17 skeletons - including 11 child burials - unearthed recently in Mexico City. The remains, he said, offer evidence of a merchant neighborhood of an Aztec people known as the Tepanec, whose glory days were some 700 years ago. Found with the remains of a newborn baby in her arms, the woman pictured above must have died after giving birth, said Talavera González, who is affiliated with Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). Further analysis is required to pin down causes of death for the 17 burials, but holes in some of the skulls hint at human sacrifice. Around the bodies, experts also found an altar, fragments of rooms, and various ceremonial objects.




Aztec, Maya Were Rubber-Making Masters?   National Geographic - June 29, 2010

Ancient civilizations in much of Mexico and Central America were making different grades of rubber 3,000 years before Charles Goodyear "stabilized" the stuff in the mid-19th century, new research suggests. The Aztec, Olmec, and Maya of Mesoamerica are known to have made rubber using natural latex - a milky, sap-like fluid found in some plants. Mesoamerica extends roughly from central Mexico to Honduras and Nicaragua. Ancient rubber makers harvested latex from rubber trees and mixed it with juice from morning glory vines, which contains a chemical that makes the solidified latex less brittle.




Mesoamerican people perfected details of rubber processing more than 3,000 years ago: study   PhysOrg - May 24, 2010

The Aztec god, Xiuhtecuhtli, as one of the nine Lords of the Night, offers up rubber balls in this drawing. Spanish explorers encountering an advanced civilization in Mesoamerica in the 16th century had plenty of things to be astonished about, but one type of object in particular was unlike anything they had ever seen before: rubber balls. No such stretchy, bouncy material existed in the Old World, and they had to struggle to find words to describe it.




Untouched Tomb of Aztec King on Verge of Discovery?   National Geographic - July 13, 2009

After nearly 30 years in the field, archaeologist Leonardo López Luján may be on the verge of the discovery of a lifetime: the only known tomb of an Aztec king. An air of excitement has been thickening around Mexico's Templo Mayor (Great Temple) since 2006, when excavations near the temple revealed a stone monolith with a carving of an Aztec goddess.




  49 Aztec Warriors in Mass Grave   National Geographic - February 11, 2009
Archaeologists in Mexico City have discovered a mass grave of what may have been the last warriors to resist conquistador Hernán Cortés, who took the Aztec capital in 1521.




Aztec Math Decoded, Reveals Woes of Ancient Tax Time National Geographic - April 3, 2008

Today's tax codes are complicated, but the ancient Aztecs likely shared your pain. To measure tracts of taxable land, Aztec mathematicians had to develop their own specialized arithmetic, which has only now been decoded. By reading Aztec records from the city-state of Tepetlaoztoc, a pair of scientists recently figured out the complicated equations and fractions that officials once used to determine the size of land on which tributes were paid. Two ancient codices, written from A.D. 1540 to 1544, survive from Tepetlaoztoc. They record each household and its number of members, the amount of land owned, and soil types such as stony, sandy, or "yellow earth." "The ancient texts were extremely detailed and well organized, because landowners often had to pay tribute according to the value of their holdings," said co-author Maria del Carmen Jorge y Jorge at the National Autonomous University in Mexico.




Aztec Pyramid, Elite Graves Unearthed in Mexico City National Geographic - January 5, 2008
A structure believed to be an 800-year-old Aztec pyramid has been discovered in central Mexico City and could drastically revise the early history of the ancient empire, officials announced. The structure was found inside a larger pyramid known as the Grand Temple at the site of the Aztec city of Tlatelolco.




Snake-bird gods fascinated both Aztecs and ancient Egyptians

Quetzalcoatl
Reuters - September 24, 2007

Ancient Mexicans and Egyptians who never met and lived centuries and thousands of miles apart both worshiped feathered-serpent deities, built pyramids and developed a 365-day calendar, a new exhibition shows. Billed as the world's largest temporary archeological showcase, Mexican archeologists have brought treasures from ancient Egypt to display alongside the great indigenous civilizations of Mexico for the first time.

The exhibition, which boasts a five-tonne, 3,000-year-old sculpture of Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II and stone carvings from Mexican pyramid at Chichen Itza, aims to show many of the similarities of two complex worlds both conquered by Europeans in invasions 1,500 years apart. "There are huge cultural parallels between ancient Egypt and Mexico in religion, astronomy, architecture and the arts. They deserve to be appreciated together," said exhibition organizer Gina Ulloa, who spent almost three years preparing the 35,520 square-feet (3,300 meter-square) display.

The exhibition, which opened at the weekend in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, shows how Mexican civilizations worshiped the feathered snake god Quetzalcoatl from about 1,200 BC to 1521, when the Spanish conquered the Aztecs.

From 3,000 BC onward Egyptians often portrayed their gods, including the Goddess of the Pharaohs Isis, in art and sculpture as serpents with wings or feathers. The feathered serpent and the serpent alongside a deity signifies the duality of human existence, at once in touch with water and earth, the serpent, and the heavens, the feathers of a bird," said Ulloa. Egyptian sculptures at the exhibition -- flown to Mexico from ancient temples along the Nile and from museums in Cairo, Luxor and Alexandria - show how Isis' son Horus was often represented with winged arms and accompanied by serpents. Cleopatra, the last Egyptian queen before the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30 BC, saw herself as Isis and wore a gold serpent in her headpiece.

Uncanny Similarities

In the arts, Mexico's earliest civilization, the Olmecs, echo Egypt's finest sculptures. Olmec artists carved large man-jaguar warriors that are similar to the Egyptian sphinxes on display showing lions with the heads of gods or kings. The seated statue of an Egyptian scribe carved between 2465 and 2323 BC shows stonework and attention to detail that parallels a seated stone sculpture of an Olmec lord. There is no evidence the Olmecs and Egyptians ever met.

Shared traits run to architecture, with Egyptians building pyramids as royal tombs and the Mayans and Aztecs following suit with pyramids as places of sacrifice to the gods. While there is no room for pyramids at the exhibition -- part of the Universal Forum of Cultures, an international cultural festival held in Barcelona in 2004 -- organizers say it is the first time many of pieces have left Egypt. They include entire archways from Nile temples, a bracelet worn by Ramses II and sarcophagi used by the pharaohs. Mexico has also brought together Aztec, Mayan and Olmec pieces from across the country.




Aztec Leader's Tomb Found Live Science - August 3, 2007





Mexico: Divers discover huge underground river Guardian - March 1, 2007




Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula: Longest underground river found Reuters - March 1, 2007




Mexican archeologists find largest Aztec figure Reuters - October 13, 2006




Aztec Temple Found in Mexico City "Exceptional," Experts Say National Geographic- October 4, 2006


Archaeologists working in the heart of Mexico City have discovered an altar and a monolith that date back more than 500 years to Aztec times.


Aztec Moon Goddess Coyolxauhqui

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Aztec Serpent Moon Goddess

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Aztec Calendar Disk

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Aztec Double Headed Serpent





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