Massive human skull tower exposes “unregistered” details about the Aztec Empire

Something is happening that we have no record of and this is really new say archaeologists.

A massive tower composed of more than 600 human skulls has been unearthed beneath the surface of the heart of Mexico City.

The discovery has raised countless questions about the Ancient Aztec Empire after archaeologists dug up 676 human skulls embedded in an ancient structure.

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The ancient skull-tower is believed to have been mentioned by Spanish conquistadores. Image credit: REUTERS.

Archaeologists at the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico (INAH) found 676 human skulls and thousands of fragments in a cylindrical building near the site of the Templo Mayor, one of the main temples of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan which eventually transformed into Mexico City.

It is believed that this enigmatic ‘skull tower’ was part of the famous Huey Tzompantli, described in the chronicles of the Spanish conquerors. The Tzompantli is a huge altar made up of skulls, which caused terror among the Spaniards when, under the command of Hernán Cortés, they captured the ancient city. A ‘Tzompantli’, or skull rack is a scaffold-like construction of poles on which heads and skulls were placed after holes had been made in them.

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The discovery revealed unexpected details about the Ancient Aztec Empire. Image credit REUTERS.

According to several historians, this type of constructions, adorned with heads of captured warriors, appear in different Mesoamerican cultures before the Spanish conquest. But the archaeological excavation in the bowels of old Mexico City that began in 2015 suggests that the image was not complete and that experts have a lot more to learn.

According to biological anthropologist Rodrigo Bolaños, records indicate that the Aztecs only sacrificed young warriors they captured, so scientists did not expect to find skulls of women and children among the skulls found at the skull tower.

Human Skull tower
Abel Guzman, Rodrigo Bolanos and Miriam Castaneda from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) examining the 676 skulls unearthed beneath the heart of Mexico City.

‘We were expecting just men, obviously young men, as warriors would be, and the thing about the women and children is that you’d think they wouldn’t be going to war,’ said Bolaños.

‘Something is happening that we have no record of, and this is really new, a first in the Huey Tzompantli,’ he added.

Furthermore, according to Raul Barrera, one of the Archaeologists working at the ancient site sad that the skulls were set into the tower most likely after they had stood on public display at the tzompantli.

The Massive skull tower—six meters in diameter—was placed at the corner of the temple of Huitzilopochtli, the ancient Aztec god of the sun, war, and human sacrifice. The base of the temple has still not been unearthed and experts believe more ‘shocking discoveries’ could await below the surface.

According to Barrera, the temple of skulls is most likely the one mentioned by Andres de Tapia, a Spanish soldier who accompanied Cortes in the 1521 conquest of Mexico.

The Spanish soldier mentioned in his account of the Spaniard campaign that he and his soldiers had encountered tens of thousands of skulls at what later became known as the Huey Tzompantli. So far, only 676 skulls have been unearthed by Barrera firmly believes more mysteries could be unearthed as the excavations went on.

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  1. What exactly is the purpose of dismantling the skull tower and examining each skull? To see how they died or what? Basically, does it really matter?
    If I collected dead beetles and pile them into a tower, and 600 years from now, these “baffled” scientist dig them up, would they examine each one to see how they died….being squashed under foot, or sprayed with bug spray, or swatted with a magazine??
    They’re DEAD, and that’s all that matters.

  2. the Aztecs asked how to build a really tall tower and someone said “use your head”. Guess it worked.

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