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700 years since the founding of Tenochtitlán: the great treasure under the Templo Mayor

According to the figures taken by the Mexican government, Tenochtitlán was founded 700 years ago. Although the date is now debated by historians, this year different activities are planned to celebrate the Mexican legacy. We tell you more about the largest funeral offering found in the Main temple.

The Offering 126 of Main temple, is located two meters below the monolith of the earth goddess Tlaltecuhtli (1486-1502 AD) and houses a large number of objects and specimens of plants, birds, mammals and aquatic organisms, including sea cucumbers, which were recently identified at the western end of the archaeological zone of the Templo Mayor, exactly on the site del Mayorazgo de Nava Chávez, located at the intersection of the streets of Argentina Y Guatemala.

In total, at least 1,688 individuals belonging to no less than 167 different species have been identified, 90.4% of which are of marine origin.

These figures represent an “archaeological record of biodiversity,” wrote Mexican archaeologist Leonardo López Luján.

Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, visited this place on May 13 and participated in a pre-Hispanic ceremony.

A great treasure

In the Twitter thread you can read that under the monolith of the goddess Tlaltecuhtli, plants such as quelite, epazote, chia, pumpkin, tobacco, maguey, copal and rubber were buried.

In addition, there were in total: 7 species of mammals, 6 of birds, 1 of reptiles, 7 of fish, 65 of clams, 60 of snails, 1 of sea cockroaches, 4 of corals, 6 of starfish, 1 of urchins. of sea, 2 of sea biscuits, 1 of snake stars, 5 of sea cucumbers and 1 of sponges.

“This great biodiversity of the intermediate levels is surely due to the fact that the Mexican priests tried to materially enunciate, in terms of the anthropologist Danièle Dehouve, a classic definition by extension. In other words, they decided express the general idea of ​​the ocean through the specific enumeration of each of its parts“, Explains the digital version of the magazine Arqueología Mexicana.

He adds that in Offering 126 we would be facing a truly exhaustive list or complete inventory of the organisms that inhabit that aquatic world of absolute fertility that, in the Mexica worldview, is located just below and around the crust of the primeval telluric monster.

It may interest you: The first pre-Hispanic sculpture with a female form is found in Veracruz

More data

In the bimonthly publication, in its number 166, it can also be read that at the bottom of the box, according to the identification of Ximena Chávez and the mastozoologist Montserrat Morales, it was found that the bones of the mammals were 28 wolves, 19 lynxes, 15 pumas, 3 jaguars, 1 ocelot, 1 Florida rabbit and 1 deer mouse.

The birds found were 5 golden eagles, 4 American owls, 2 red falcons, 1 red-tailed hawk, 1 chicken hawk and 2 quail. In the reptile group they identified 1 rattlesnake.

According to López Luján, plants and animals were imported to Tenochtitlan from all over the empire and even beyond, from ecosystems as contrasting as tropical forests, temperate zones, semi-arid and arid regions, coastal lagoons, estuaries, mangroves and ocean environments.

More marine species

In a May 2020 statement, the UNAM DGCS announced that a group of scientists from the Institute of Marine Sciences and Limnology, led by Francisco Alonso Solís Marín, counted 6 species of starfish (13 individuals), 1 of sea urchins (7 individuals), 1 of sea biscuits (1 individual), 1 of sea biscuits (3 individuals), 1 of star snake (1 individual) and 5 of sea cucumbers (5 individuals). They also detected remains of at least 1 poriferous taxon (1 sea sponge).

In 2011, this research team noticed the existence of starfish in the offering, after analyzing pulverized material and reconstructing part of their skeletons; In 2020, they took a teaspoon of powder and discovered the spicules that made up the internal skeleton of a sea cucumber.

Sea cucumbers have existed on the planet for 400 million years and today about 1,700 species are known

To reach Offering 126, six months of uninterrupted work were necessary, the removal of 38 cubic meters corresponding to six construction landfills. Finally, in May 2008, four heavy slabs of lamprobolite andesite were found that, for more than five centuries, had covered the offering. (With information from Mexican Archeology and Twitter)

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