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Monday 27 of May 2024

Archaeologist Find Martial Human Jaws in Tlalteloco

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Similar discoveries have been made in Tenochtitlan, specialists say the mouth bones symbolize warrior strength

Scientists uncovered a central altar and two rooms in a dig in the Tlalteloco Archaeological Zone, signs of a religious building that could be as significant as Tenochtitlan’s Casa de las Aguilas (House of Eagles).

Archaeologist Salvador Guilliem Arroyo said in a press release from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) “We found nine offerings with human jaws, and other with a flint knife painted completely red, located on the floor of the patio, in the center of a rectangular piece of furniture with a point demarcated towards the north, accompanied by obsidian blades. The blades didn’t appear to have been used, but since they were found near the self-sacrifice offerings, we believe that priests pierced themselves with them to give blood to the gods.”

Nine offerings were located in the dig site featuring human jaw bones.
Nine offerings were located in the dig site featuring human jaw bones. Photo: INAH

Human jaws, said achaeologist Leonardo López Luján in his doctoral thesis focused on the Casa de Aguilas, are associated with the power of the warrior. Between the years 1960 and 1964, scientists uncovered more than 200 bodies in Tlalteloco, including jaws that were discovered in various sectors of the site.

Human jaws have also been discovered at the Casa de Aguilas.

The walls of the two rooms discovered were covered with minimal designs comprised of one or two millimeters thickness. Red and blue stripes are prevalent, with red marks on the floors.

“In Tlalteloco, in the pre-Hispanic epoch, almost all the painted walls were decorated al fresco, with ideographic elements, without geometric forms that would allow us to do a iconographic or iconologic study,” said Guilliem Arroyo. “Except the Calendar Temple, which we we had the luck to discover and where one can enjoy the creative gods of that era.”

Wide view of the Tlateloco dig site. Photo: INAH
Wide view of the Tlateloco dig site. Photo: INAH

The discovery of the uppermost parts of the altar was made at the end of 2015. The Tlalteloco Project was initiated in 1987.

“When we opened up the room with the altar and the steps decorated with the human jaw, we knew that this was a military room similar to Tenochtitlan,” said Guilliem Arroyo.