Mexican archaeologists begin search for Aztec king’s tomb


Mexico City : A team of archaeologists has begun exploring a site in the heart of the Mexican capital that might lead to the first discovery of a tomb of an Aztec king, according to Spanish news agency EFE.

Support TwoCircles

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said in a communiqué that a 12-tonne monolith dedicated to Tlaltecuhtli, the Aztec earth goddess, was removed from the site Tuesday.

Scientists hope to uncover the tomb of King Ahuizotl, who reigned from 1486-1502.

The monolith and the possible tomb were found a year ago in the area known as Las Ajaracas, a spot where the new official residence of the Mexico City mayor is being built.

Upon detecting the archaeological remains, the government donated the land to INAH to explore.

The colonial structures erected by the Spaniards over Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital, are also of historical value, and so they were never removed to allow excavations there until one of those buildings had to be torn down after suffering severe damage in the massive earthquake of 1985.

According to the INAH communiqué, scientists performed a three-dimensional underground probe of the site using a scanner with the collaboration of a team from the University of Ferrara, Italy, and aided by Japanese experts from Nagoya University.

Leonardo Lopez Lujan, the director of INAH’s Templo Mayor Project, said that with the studies, scientists expect to confirm the thesis that the tomb of Ahuizotl – the last Aztec king before the Spanish conquest – is located there.

That thesis, he added, might be corroborated or rejected “depending on the presence or lack of archaeological evidence”, but in any case it will be a slow process taking at least a year.

The archaeologist said that they located an entrance to the two-square-meter tomb, which is located about five meters underground.

Ahuizotl, who died in a flood, carried out military campaigns to extend the power of Tenochtitlan to Guatemala and he is known for his massive sacrifice of between 20,000 and 80,000 captives.

The first contact the Aztecs had with the Europeans came in 1519, when Hernan Cortes and his group of conquistadors advanced on the Mexico Valley and took Ahuizotl’s successor, his nephew Moctezuma, hostage.

Cuauhtemoc, the son of Ahuizotl, succeeded Moctezuma and led the last resistance to the Spaniards in the battle for Mexico City in 1521.