Child sacrifice site found at the foot of an ancient temple in a lost Aztec city

Archaeologists unearthed the remains of the boy, believed to have been sacrificed at the end of the 15th century, at the foot of an ancient temple in Mexico, in the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, which is now the center of the Mexican capital, Mexico City.

A child sacrifice site at the foot of an ancient temple in a lost Aztec city has been unearthed by archaeologists.

The discovery was made at the foot of the old Templo Mayor temple, which was found in the heart of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan.

It is believed that the little boy was sacrificed by the Aztec war god Huitzilopochtli during late fifteenth century

The sacrifice of children seems to have been a relatively common occurrence in the cultures of ancient South and Central America.

The Aztecs undertook human sacrifices, including children, as they believed that this would bring the necessary crops to the rains to grow.

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Archaeologists unearthed the remains of the boy, believed to have been sacrificed at the end of the 15th century, at the foot of an ancient temple in Mexico, in the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, which is now the center of the Mexican capital, Mexico City.

Archaeologists unearthed the remains of the boy, believed to have been sacrificed at the end of the 15th century, at the foot of an ancient temple in Mexico, in the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, which is now the center of the Mexican capital, Mexico City.

The discovery comes 12 years after the location of the first child sacrifice site in the archaeological site, now in the center of the Mexican capital, Mexico City.

According to reports, the child's bones were found along with body ornaments and symbols characteristic of Huitzilopochtli.

The remains, called "Offering 176", were found under the floor of a plaza west of the Templo Mayor, which was the center of the ancient city.

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Archaeologists found a series of symbols linked to Huitzilopochtli, the ancient Aztec god of war, the sun, human sacrifice and the patron saint of the city of Tenochtitlan, along with skeletal remains.

It was believed that the little boy had been sacrificed at the end of the 15th century. The body of the child sacrifice was found hidden under stone slabs

It was believed that the little boy had been sacrificed at the end of the 15th century. The body of the child sacrifice was found hidden under stone slabs

It was believed that the little boy had been sacrificed at the end of the 15th century. The body of the child sacrifice was found hidden under stone slabs

WHAT IS THE TEMPLE MAYOR AND WHEN WAS IT DISCOVERED?

In 1978, electric workers in Mexico City found a remarkable discovery.

While digging near the main square, they found a monolith of finely carved stone that showed a dismembered and decapitated woman.

Immediately, they knew they found something special. Soon after, archaeologists realized that the monolith showed the Aztec goddess Coyolxauhqui, or Bells-Her-Cheeks.

This is the sister of the Mexicas' patron god, Huitzilopochtli, or Hummingbird-Left, who killed her sister when she tried to kill her mother.

This monolith led to the discovery of the Templo Mayor, the main Aztec temple located in the sacred precinct of the ancient capital, known as Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City.

In 1978, electrical workers in Mexico City encountered the Templo Mayor. This image shows the Piedra Coyolxauhqui, c. 1500 AD, a volcanic stone found in the Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan and in the Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico City

In 1978, electrical workers in Mexico City encountered the Templo Mayor. This image shows the Piedra Coyolxauhqui, c. 1500 AD, a volcanic stone found in the Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan and in the Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico City

In 1978, electrical workers in Mexico City encountered the Templo Mayor. This image shows the Piedra Coyolxauhqui, c. 1500 AD, a volcanic stone found in the Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan and in the Museo del Templo Mayor, Mexico City

The city of Tenochtitlan was established in 1325 on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco, much of which has been filled to accommodate the Mexico City that now exists on this site, and with the founding of the city the structure original of the Templo Mayor was built.

Between 1325 and 1519, the Templo Mayor expanded, expanded and rebuilt during seven main phases of construction, which probably corresponded to different rulers, or tlatoani, which means "orator", assuming the position.

Sometimes, the new construction was the result of environmental problems, such as floods.

Located in the sacred precinct in the heart of the city, the Templo Mayor was located in the center of the Aztec capital and, therefore, throughout the empire.

The capital was also divided into four main quadrants, with the Templo Mayor in the center.

This design reflects the Aztec cosmos, which was believed to be composed of four structured parts around the navel of the universe, or the mundi axis.

Source: Khan Academy

The Aztecs had to lift a series of stone slabs from the floor to make way for the body, archaeologists point out.

Then they dug a hole in the ground and built a cylindrical box in which the child was placed with volcanic rocks, stuck together with stucco.

One expert told reporters: "Then they filled the square with dirt brought from the banks of the old lake to build another square on it."

A team formed by the archaeologists Rodolfo Aguilar Tapia, Mary Laidy Hernández Ramírez and Karina López Hernández, together with the physical anthropologist Jacqueline Castro Irineo, had the mission to excavate the find of the Offering 176.

The remains, called "Offering 176", were found under the floor of a plaza west of the Templo Mayor, which was the center of the ancient city. This image shows archaeologists on the site

The remains, called "Offering 176", were found under the floor of a plaza west of the Templo Mayor, which was the center of the ancient city. This image shows archaeologists on the site

The remains, called "Offering 176", were found under the floor of a plaza west of the Templo Mayor, which was the center of the ancient city. This image shows archaeologists on the site

The Aztecs had to lift a series of stone slabs from the floor to make way for the body, archaeologists point out. Then they dug a hole in the ground to house the sacrifice

The Aztecs had to lift a series of stone slabs from the floor to make way for the body, archaeologists point out. Then they dug a hole in the ground to house the sacrifice

The Aztecs had to lift a series of stone slabs from the floor to make way for the body, archaeologists point out. Then they dug a hole in the ground to house the sacrifice

The Aztecs built a cylindrical box in which the child was placed with volcanic rocks, stuck together with stucco. This image shows the remains that were excavated

The Aztecs built a cylindrical box in which the child was placed with volcanic rocks, stuck together with stucco. This image shows the remains that were excavated

The Aztecs built a cylindrical box in which the child was placed with volcanic rocks, stuck together with stucco. This image shows the remains that were excavated

WHO WERE THE AZTECS AND WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THEM?

The Mexicas, later known as the Aztecs, were a migrant people from the northern desert that arrived in Mesoamerica in the 13th century.

This previously nomadic tribe was not well received by the local inhabitants who considered them inferior and underdeveloped.

The legend says that, as a result, the Aztecs wandered around waiting for a sign to indicate where they should settle.

In 1325 AD this sign, an eagle and a serpent fighting in a cactus, was seen in the lake of Texcoco, which led the Aztecs to found their capital city, Tenochtitlan.

By 1430 AD the Aztecs had assimilated aspects of the surrounding tribes and had developed into a structured society.

Their military became powerful and they fought and won campaigns.

The Triple Alliance was created with the lords of Texcoco, located on the eastern shores of Lake Texococo, and Tlacopan, sometimes called Tacuba, located on the western shores of Lake Texococo, further strengthening the Aztec power.

The Aztecs went to war for two main reasons; to demand tribute and capture prisoners.

They needed prisoners because they believed that the gods should be appeased with human blood and hearts to ensure that the sun came out every day.

The conquest of new regions brought the opportunity to capture slaves who were an important part of Aztec society.

The prosperity and unity within the Aztec peoples brought confidence. Under a succession of rulers, the armies were sent beyond Mexico.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, the Aztec empire extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific and to Guatemala and Nicaragua.

The arrival in 1521 AD of Hernán Cortés with Spanish soldiers brought the end of the empire.

Source: British Museum

Since its initial discovery, at the end of October 2017, each of the human bones and the numerous objects made with different raw materials have been carefully excavated, cleaned and registered.

The discovery comes after hundreds of skulls were recently found in Tenochtitlan and it is believed that they were publicly exhibited in ritual sacrifices.

Tenochtitlan was built on an island in what was then Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico.

The city was the capital of the Aztec Empire expanding in the fifteenth century until it was captured by the Spanish in 1521.

In its heyday, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas.

The Aztec human sacrifices were much more widespread and frightening than previously thought, archaeologists revealed in June.

A Tzompantli stone (skull shelf) found during the excavations of the Templo Mayor (Templo Mayor) in Tenochtitlan. New research found that the "skull towers" that used real human heads were only a small part of a massive display of skulls known as Huey Tzompantli.

A Tzompantli stone (skull shelf) found during the excavations of the Templo Mayor (Templo Mayor) in Tenochtitlan. New research found that the "skull towers" that used real human heads were only a small part of a massive display of skulls known as Huey Tzompantli.

A Tzompantli stone (skull shelf) found during the excavations of the Templo Mayor (Templo Mayor) in Tenochtitlan. New research has found that the "skull towers" that used real human heads were only a small part of a massive skull exhibit known as Huey Tzompantli.

In 2015, archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico (INAH) found a horrible "rack trophy" near the site of the Templo Mayor.

Now, they say the finding was just the tip of the iceberg, and that the "skull tower" was only a small part of a huge display of skulls known as Huey Tzompantli, the size of a basketball court.

In two seasons of excavations, archaeologists collected 180 skulls, mostly complete from the tower and thousands of skull fragments.

The cut marks confirm that they were "shelled" after death and that decapitation marks are "clean and uniform".

Three quarters of the skulls analyzed belonged to men, mostly aged between 20 and 35 years. 20% belonged to women and the remaining 5% were children.

WHY THE ANCIENT SOUTH AMERICAN CULTURES SACRIFICED THEIR CHILDREN?

The sacrifice of children seems to have been a relatively common occurrence in the cultures of ancient Peru, including the pre-Incan Sicán, or the Lambayeque culture and the Chimú people who followed them, as well as the Incas.

Among the findings that reveal this ritual behavior are the mummified remains of a child's body, discovered in 1985 by a group of mountaineers.

The remains were discovered at around 17,388 feet (5,300 meters) in the southwest mountain range of the Cerro Aconcagua in the Argentine province of Mendoza.

The sacrifice of children seems to have been a relatively common occurrence in the cultures of ancient Peru. Among the findings that reveal this ritual behavior are the mummified remains of a child's body (pictured), discovered in 1985 by a group of mountaineers

The sacrifice of children seems to have been a relatively common occurrence in the cultures of ancient Peru. Among the findings that reveal this ritual behavior are the mummified remains of a child's body (pictured), discovered in 1985 by a group of mountaineers

The sacrifice of children seems to have been a relatively common occurrence in the cultures of ancient Peru. Among the findings that reveal this ritual behavior are the mummified remains of a child's body (pictured), discovered in 1985 by a group of mountaineers

It is believed that the child was the victim of an Inca ritual called capacocha, in which children of great beauty and health were sacrificed, drugging them and taking them to the mountains to die frozen.

The ruins of a sanctuary used by the Incas to sacrifice children to their gods was discovered by aThe archaeologists in a coastal ruin complex in Peru in 2016.

Experts who dug in Chotuna-Chornancap, in the north of Lima, discovered 17 tombs dating from at least the fifteenth century. This included the graves of six children placed side by side in pairs of shallow graves.

Capacocha was a ritual that often happened with the death of an Inca king. The local gentlemen were required to select the children without blemish representing the ideal of human perfection.

The ruins of a sanctuary used by the Incas to sacrifice children to their gods were discovered by archaeologists in a coastal ruinous complex in Peru in 2016. Experts digging in Chotuna-Chornancap (pictured), in northern Lima, discovered 17 tombs dating from at least the fifteenth century

The ruins of a sanctuary used by the Incas to sacrifice children to their gods were discovered by archaeologists in a coastal ruinous complex in Peru in 2016. Experts digging in Chotuna-Chornancap (pictured), in northern Lima, discovered 17 tombs dating from at least the fifteenth century

The ruins of a sanctuary used by the Incas to sacrifice children to their gods were discovered by archaeologists in a coastal ruinous complex in Peru in 2016. Experts digging in Chotuna-Chornancap (pictured), in northern Lima, discovered 17 tombs dating from at least the fifteenth century

The children were married and presented with sets of human figurines and miniature llama in gold, silver, copper and shell. The male figures have elongated ear lobes and a braided headband and the female figures wore their hair in braids.

The children were returned to their original communities, where they were honored before being sacrificed to the gods of the mountain in the Llullaillaco Volcano.

The phrase Capacocha has been translated as "solemn sacrifice" or "real obligation".

The reason for this type of sacrificial rite has typically been understood as the commemoration of the important life events of the Inca emperor, to send them to be with the deities after their death, to stop natural disasters, to encourage the growth of crops or religious ceremonies.

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