Tenochtitlán (Digging for the Past)

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Origins of Tenochtitlán

That is a characteristic of someone of high social class. As babies, their heads were bound with pieces of wood in the front and back until the bones gave way.

It was considered beautiful. Anthropologists, who are just beginning to study the skull and tablets, are far from certain to which god the offering was made. Spanish conquerors built Mexico City on the ruins of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. The Templo Mayor was the principal religious site, surrounded by lesser pyramids dedicated to minor gods.

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The mansion at Argentina 12, where the skull and tablets were found, was built atop one of those. The temple was directly in front of the Templo Mayor and is believed to have been dedicated to either Coateocalli, the god of prisoners, or to Cihuacoatl, a serpent woman and goddess of land. The discovery may help anthropologists decide which one. At the end of the 18th Century, Spanish tax collector Jose Francisco de Fagoaga y Arozqueta bought the land and commissioned Valencian sculptor Manuel Tolsa to build his three-story mansion. At the turn of the 20th Century, the Mexican government bought the colonial building to house its growing bureaucracy, using it for one of its ministries.

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When the cathedral needed to be rescued in the s, engineers dug 30 shafts to stabilize the structure and Mr. Matos and his team descended as far as 65 feet to see what was underneath. Carrasco said. Tell us what you think. Please upgrade your browser. See next articles. Newsletter Sign Up Continue reading the main story Please verify you're not a robot by clicking the box.

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Sign Up. You will receive emails containing news content , updates and promotions from The New York Times. You may opt-out at any time. You agree to receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services. Even so, the church did this no matter what; throughout the Americas, I have seen churches raised on top of sacred sites, often using the building stones of these sacred sites. However, I also feel hope with each honouring of the ancients as we learn to explore what they have been teaching us through the ages, including religious leaders of, in this case, the catholic faith.

As I wander through the site, I see both beauty and ugliness.


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  7. I see flowers and snakes; eagles and frogs; I see rooms of worship. I am reminded that we — all of us — take what is there and rework it in our own image so that we feel we live a meaningful life. The Aztecs did this with the cities and peoples they conquered, reworking the legends, the philosophies, and the beauty into their way of seeing the world.

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    Your email address will not be published. Flower Mirror — Tenochtitlan — Mexico City.

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