Discovery of 800 year old Aztec pyramid in Mexico could revise history of ancient empire

January 6th, 2008 - 2:41 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of National Geographic

Washington, Jan 6 (ANI): Archaeologists have discovered an 800-year-old Aztec pyramid in central Mexico City, which could drastically revise the early history of the ancient empire.

Found inside a larger pyramid known as the Grand Temple at the site of the Aztec city of Tlateloco, the discovery of the new pyramid could push back the age of the city, as well as of its nearby “twin city” Tenochtitlanby a century or more.

Earlier interpretations of Aztec legends say Tlatelolco was built around A.D. 1358, the same year as Tenochtitlan, although archaeological evidence has cast doubt on that date in recent years.

According to a report in National Geographic News, Guilliem, who is leading an archaeological effort to study Tlatelolco, has said that the structure’s construction suggests it could have been built as early as A.D. 1100 or 1200, at least a century earlier than historical accounts suggest the city was founded.

“If true, the date of this pyramid fits with many other archaeological finds that reveal evidence of Aztec occupation earlier than the traditional dates,” said Susan Gillespie, a University of Florida anthropologist .

The find could also shed light on the poorly understood early relationship between Tlatelolcoa massive market provinceand Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital and one of Mesoamerica’s largest cities.

“The new discovery could challenge the notion that Tenochtitlan was the dominant twin during the early, entangled development of the two Aztec provinces,” said Michael Smith, an Aztec expert at Arizona State University. “There are vague traces in the historical sources that Tlatelolco may have been more powerful than Tenochtitlan in its early decades,” he added.

“If there was indeed a large pyramid in Tlatelolco in the Early Aztec period, given that no such find exists in Tenochtitlan, it may suggest that Tlatelolco was indeed the dominant city in their early years. That would be significant,” said Gillespie.

According to the report, while Guilliem’s team continues to work on determining the new pyramid’s age, the researchers have already uncovered new insights into the Grand Temple.
“Until now we thought Tlatelolco’s Grand Temple had seven phases of construction,” Guilliem told National Geographic News. “Now we know that there are eight,” he added.

As to what’s within the newly discovered pyramid, the research team believes that an offering to Tezcatlipoca Black, the Aztec god of commerce, will be found inside.

According to Guilliem, workers intentionally broke into the smaller pyramid in 1368 while building a subsequent phase and deposited a deity that’s likely to be Tezcatlipoca.

“They most likely deposited an offering to the deity, conducted a ceremony, and then closed it again,” said Guilliem. (ANI)

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