Aztec Temple Found in Mexico City "Exceptional," Experts Say
Stefan Lovgren for National Geographic News,October 5, 2006
The finds may be one of the most significant Aztec discoveries in years.
The altar depicts the Aztec rain god Tlaloc and was uncovered last weekend at the Aztec main temple, Templo Mayor, near mexico City's central Zocalo Square.
The 11-foot (3.5-meter) monolith, which is still mostly buried, is potentially the more important discovery. Some archaeologists speculate the stone slab could be part of an entrance to an underground chamber.
"This is a really impressive and exceptional Aztec monolith," said Leonardo López Luján, an archaeologist at the Museo del Templo Mayor.
via USA Today (yes! USA Today) posted 10/5/2006 3:33 PM ET
Mexican archaeologists unearth monolith showing early calendar, decapitated women
By Mark Stevenson, The Associated PressMEXICO CITY — Researchers said Thursday they have unearthed what may be one of the earliest calendars in Mesoamerica, a monolithic sculpture that suggests that women held important status roles in pre-Hispanic culture.
The massive stone sculpture depicts two decapitated women with streams of blood or water flowing from their necks. Markings around the sides of these figures appear to depict a 13-month lunar calendar, said archaeologist Guillermo Ahuja, who led the discovery of the monument.
"This would be the first depiction of a calendar or calendar elements in such an early time period," Ahuja said.
Luciano Cedillo, director of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History — which employs Ahuja — called the find "important and surprising."
The monolith, which measures more than 8 yards and weighs about 20 tons, was found in March 2005 by construction workers at the Tantoc ruins in San Luis Potosí state, near Mexico's northern Gulf coast.
It was carved sometime around 700 B.C., likely by the Huasteco culture and possibly predates early Mayan calendars by hundreds of years, Ahuja said.