Home > Mexico, Uncategorized, worldwide travel and exploration > When the Aztec tomb of the Emperor is finally opened

When the Aztec tomb of the Emperor is finally opened

December 10th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

I go to the British Museum to hear Leonardo López Luján talk about his work on the Aztec pyramids of the Plaza Mayor in Mexico City.  There is an almost palpable  air of expectation about the event — after several years of excavation, his team have reached the entrance to what may well be a royal tomb.  The glyphs on the doorway correspond to those for the reign of Ahuizotl, Moctezuma’s predecessor as Emperor of the Aztecs (or Mexica, as the British Museum keeps pedantically reminding us to call them).

Even the natural — and proper — caution of an archaeologist cannot prevent Leonardo from getting excited at the prospect.  And he’s had three years to do so — the monolithic lid to the tomb was first uncovered in October 2006 (by workmen clearing the wrong site by accident).  The reason it’s taken so long to excavate is that the water table is very high in what was once, after all, a  city built on a lake, like Venice. 

The tomb lid showed a representation of the nocturnal earth goddess Tlaltecuhtli carved into the pink andesite, with claws extended to receive the dead.  Ground-penetrating radar shows there are three chambers below the tomb lid.  Funerary offerings placed at the entrance to these chambers include gold offerings, the bones of an eagle and a dog, and the pelt of a spider monkey.

 The moment when the tomb is  finally opened may well be the first really momentous archaeological find of the 21st century: no tomb of an Aztec emperor has ever been found before.  And it will happen soon.

see Mexico City Dreams    The Traveller Magazine

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.