Mexico finds Aztec remains during subway drilling

MEXICO CITY Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:43am IST

Related Topics

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Archeologists have uncovered more than 500-year-old remains of about 50 Aztec children, some of them stuffed into ceramic jars for burial, during excavations for a new subway line in Mexico City.

The team from Mexico's National Institute for Anthropology and History also found the foundations of Aztec homes, hundreds of small figurines, and pots and plates dating from 1100 to 1500 AD, on the eve of the Spanish conquest, along the 15-mile (24-km) subway line, due to open in 2012 in southern Mexico City, home to about 20 million people.

"In total there are 60 graves, 10 adults and around 50 children of different ages, some two or three years old," archeologist Maria de Jesus Sanchez told Reuters.

The graves, found scattered in excavation areas since builders began digging the subway line in September 2008, reflect burial practices of the Aztecs, who often interred their dead relatives underneath their homes.

The Aztec empire, with its capital in modern-day Mexico City, held sway over a large part of Mesoamerica for about a century until the arrival of the Spanish.

Deceased children were often placed in earthen vessels before burial in the belief that the jars would resemble the mother's womb and keep them warm.

Among the objects found was a 20-inch (50-cm) stone figure of a woman discovered under the graves of two children, close to the site of a new subway stations.

The subway line links several suburbs that were built on the site of centuries-old Aztec towns. In one suburb, Culhuacan, archeologists found fragments of pots and stone carvings of faces dating back as far as 2000 BC.

Mexico has around 40,000 registered archeological sites.

While officials today have the authority to halt or alter construction work if an important artifact is discovered, many historical sites have been destroyed during construction and infrastructure projects in the past.

(Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez; writing by Sarah Grainger; editing by Missy Ryan and Cynthia Osterman)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (1)
aemanon wrote:
so what happened ” on the eve of the Spanish conquest” ? not understandable.
the metropolitan area has a population of 20 million, not the city

Aug 23, 2010 4:52pm IST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Fighting Ebola

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Fighting IS

Fighting IS

Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani as U.S. drops arms to defenders.  Full Article 

Hong Kong Unrest

Hong Kong Unrest

Hong Kong students, officials set for first talks on political crisis.  Full Article 

Suffering Children

Suffering Children

Violence kills a child every five minutes, most outside war zones - U.N.  Full Article 

County In Turmoil

County In Turmoil

South Sudan sexual violence "rampant," 2-year-old raped - U.N.  Full Article 

Putin's Proposal

Putin's Proposal

Polish ex-minister quoted saying Putin offered to divide Ukraine with Poland.  Full Article 

Nuclear PactNuclear Investigation

Nuclear Investigation

UN nuclear chief suggests progress slow in Iran investigation.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage