Aztec Temple’s Dark Secrets Exposed: Human Figurines Uncovered as Sacrificial Offerings

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4 min readSep 2, 2023

Archaeologists from Mexico conducted excavations in the former Aztec temple in the capital of the country. They uncovered 15 figurines depicting humans. Researchers suggest that these small sculptures were used as offerings to the gods and were previously looted in a certain battle.

[Image generated by AI, Free to use]

The Templo Mayor is the most important Aztec temple, built between the 14th and 15th centuries. It was located in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán, situated on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco in central Mexico. The ruins of the temple are still present in Mexico City. We have written about the structure earlier this year in the context of the discovery of a horrifying wall made of human skulls found within it. During the conquest, the Templo Mayor was extensively destroyed by the Spaniards in 1521, as it was deemed a symbol of pagan worship.

Remarkable Discovery in the Famous Templo Mayor

It was precisely at the site where this monumental temple once stood that Mexican archaeologists from INAH conducted their latest excavations. Researchers managed to uncover a stone chest containing Aztec treasures. Among them were 15 figurines representing human figures. Scholars believe that these objects were looted during one of the battles, and these tiny human sculptures might have been used in sacrificial rituals.

Templo Mayor — [Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Scientists believe that the treasure dates back to the reign of Montezuma I Ilhuicamina, who ruled the Aztec empire from 1440 to 1469. He is credited with strengthening the Aztec hegemony over the Valley of Mexico and initiating expansion towards the east and south, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. INAH archaeologists believe that the items from the chest serve as confirmation of the ruler’s successes.

Aztec War Spoils

Researchers acknowledged that 14 of the figurines depicted men, while one depicted a woman. Many similar artifacts are part of the larger collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

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