Category Archives: MEXICO

15-year-old boy discovers lost ancient Mayan city

15-year-old boy discovers lost ancient Mayan city

A 15-year-old school student from Quebec, Canada, William Gadoury discovered something that archaeologists have been covering for centuries-a nearly abandoned Mayan civilization settlement, hidden deep within the Yucatan jungle of Southeastern Mexico.

Gadoury has named the newly discovered Mayan metropolis K’aak Chi, after reading about their 2012 apocalypse prediction.

He didn’t do it by hiring a bunch of expensive equipment, hopping on a plane, and slaving away on an excavation site – he discovered the incredible ruins from the comfort of his own home, by figuring out that the ancient cities were built in alignment with the stars above.

“I did not understand why the Maya built their cities away from rivers, on marginal lands and in the mountains,” Gadoury told French-Canadian magazine, Journal de Montréal.

“They had to have another reason, and as they worshipped the stars, the idea came to me to verify my hypothesis. I was really surprised and excited when I realised that the most brilliant stars of the constellations matched the largest Maya cities.”

Gadoury had been studying 22 Maya constellations for years before releasing that he could line up the positions of 117 Maya cities on the ground with maps of stars and constellations above –  something that no one had pieced together before. 

With this in mind, he located a 23rd constellation, which included just three stars. According to his sky map, he could only link up two cities with the three stars, so suspected that a third city remained undetected in that spot.  

Satellite images compared with Google Earth show potentially man-made structures beneath the jungle canopy.

Unfortunately, the location on the ground that matched up with the third star wasn’t exactly somewhere that Gadoury could just go visit – it’s right in the heart of the jungle, in the inaccessible and remote region of Mexico’s southern Yucatán Peninsula.

Not that stopped Gadoury – he knew that a fire had stripped much of the forest in the area back in 2005, which meant that from above, you might have an easier time spotting ancient ruins than if the canopy had been thriving for the past couple of thousand years.

All he needed to do was access satellite imagery of the area from the Canadian Space Agency, which he mapped onto Google Earth images to see if there were any signs of his lost city.

Further analyses from satellites belonging to NASA and the Japanese Space Agency revealed what looks like a pyramid and 30 buildings at the location mapped by the star, Yucatan Expat Life reports

William Gadoury, 15, explains his theory of the existence of a Mayan city still unknown in Mexico before scientists at the Canadian Space Agency.

As Daniel De Lisle from the Canadian Space Agency told Samuel Osborne at The Independent, the satellite images revealed certain linear features on the forest floor that looked anything but natural. “There are enough items to suggest it could be a man-made structure,” he said. 

Gadoury has tentatively named the lost city K’àak’ Chi’, meaning “fire mouth”, and will be working with researchers from the Canadian Space Agency to get his discovery published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Now, we don’t want to burst anyone’s bubble here, but while things look promising from those satellite images, nothing can be confirmed until experts can access the site and see the remains up close.

A team of archaeologists is now figuring out how to make that happen, and one of the researchers involved in the project, Armand LaRocque from the University of New Brunswick, told the Journal de Montréal that if they can get the funds to organise an excavation, they’ll be taking Gadoury along for sure. 

“It would be the culmination of my three years of work and the dream of my life,” said Gadoury, and suddenly we feel incredibly inadequate that the best thing we did at 15 was hand in most of our assignments on time.

Update: In a strange development, a scientist familiar with the Mexican region where the odd, city-like features have been discovered says at least one of them is either an abandoned cornfield – or a covert marijuana operation.

“We’ve visited them, and my grad students know them quite well,” anthropologist Geoffrey E. Braswell from the University of California San Diego’s Mesoamerican Archaeology Laboratory told George Dvorsky at Gizmodo. “They’re not Maya pyramids.”

No word yet on what this means for Armand LaRocque’s planned expedition to the site, but things aren’t looking good for Gadoury’s science fair entry at this stage. But Braswell has praised his curiosity and told The Washinton Post he hopes he ends up at his university to study.

At least 200 mammoth skeletons discovered under the Mexico City airport site

At least 200 mammoth skeletons discovered under the Mexico City airport site

At an airport construction facility north of Mexico City, the number of mammouth skeletons recovered increased to at least 200 and still many are to be excavated, said experts on Thursday. 

Paleontologists work Thursday to preserve the skeleton of a mammoth discovered at the construction site of Mexico City’s new airport.

Archeologists hope the site that has become “mammoth central” — the shores of an ancient lake bed that both attracted and trapped mammoths in its marshy soil — may help solve the riddle of their extinction.

Experts said that finds are still being made at the site, including signs that humans may have made tools from the bones of the lumbering animals that died somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.

There are so many mammoths at the site of the new Santa Lucia airport that observers have to accompany each bulldozer that digs into the soil to make sure work is halted when mammoth bones are uncovered.

“We have about 200 mammoths, about 25 camels, five horses,” said archeologist Rubén Manzanilla López of the National Institute of Anthropology and History, referring to animals that went extinct in the Americas.

The site is only about 12 miles from artificial pits, essentially shallow mammoth traps, that were dug by early inhabitants to trap and kill dozens of mammoths.

Manzanilla López said evidence is beginning to emerge suggesting that even if the mammoths at the airport died natural deaths after becoming stuck in the mud of the ancient lake bed, their remains may have been carved up by humans. Something similar happened at the mammoth-trap site in the hamlet of San Antonio Xahuento, in the nearby township of Tultepec.

While tests are still being carried out on the mammoth bones to try to find possible butchering marks, archeologists have found dozens of mammoth-bone tools — usually shafts used to hold other tools or cutting implements — like ones in Tultepec.

“Here we have found evidence that we have the same kind of tools, but until we can do the laboratory studies to see marks of these tools or possible tools, we can’t say we have evidence that is well-founded,” Manzanilla López said.

Paleontologist Joaquin Arroyo Cabrales said the airport site “will be a very important site to test hypotheses” about the mass extinction of mammoths.

“What caused these animals’ extinction, everywhere there is a debate, whether it was climate change or the presence of humans,” Arroyo Cabrales said. “I think in the end the decision will be that there was a synergy effect between climate change and human presence.”

Ashley Leger, a paleontologist at the California-based Cogstone Resource Management company, who was not involved in the dig, noted that such natural death groupings “are rare.

A very specific set of conditions that allow for a collection of remains in an area but also be preserved as fossils must be met. There needs to be a means for them to be buried rapidly and experience low oxygen levels.”

The site near Mexico City now appears to have outstripped the Mammoth Site at Hot Springs, S.D. — which has about 61 sets of remains — as the world’s largest find of mammoth bones. Large concentrations have also been found in Siberia and at Los Angeles’ La Brea tar pits.

For now, the mammoths seem to be everywhere at the site and the finds may slow down, but not stop, work on the new airport.

Mexican Army Capt. Jesus Cantoral, who oversees efforts to preserve remains at the army-led construction site, said “a large number of excavation sites” are still pending detailed study, and that observers have to accompany backhoes and bulldozers every time they break ground at a new spot.

The airport project is so huge, he noted, that the machines can just go work somewhere else while archeologists study a specific area. The airport project is scheduled for completion in 2022, at which point the dig will end.

Long lost palace and death site of Moctezuma II discovered in Mexico

Long lost palace and death site of Moctezuma II discovered in Mexico

The remains of an Aztec palace where emperor Moctezuma II was held captive by the Spanish and killed in 1520 has been discovered in Mexico City. 

Archaeologists found the remains of a basalt slab floor from the Aztec palace.

Historical records say that the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes took Moctezuma II (also known as Moctezuma Xocoyotzin, sometimes also spelled Montezuma) hostage and held him in the palace in an attempt to force the emperor to control the Aztec population.

The people quickly rebelled and laid siege to the Spaniards in the palace. The Spanish tried to quell the rebellion by having Moctezuma II address the rebels from a palace balcony, but the rebels refused to stop their siege and the emperor was killed in the crossfire. 

The Spanish conquistadors eventually destroyed the rebel forces along with the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan (where modern-day Mexico City is located).

The surviving Aztec people were forced to build a new city over the ruins of Tenochtitlan.

A house for Cortes, which was also discovered by archaeologists during the excavation, was built over the remains of the palace. 

Sculptures from the Aztec palace were reused to build the house of conquistador Hernan Cortes.
This palace was built from the remains of the destroyed Aztec palace.

Reusing sculptures

They found the palace remains — which include basalt slab floors that may have been part of a plaza — beneath an 18th-century pawn shop. The archaeologists also found that sculptures from the palace were reused like blocks to build Hernan Cortes’ house. 

One sculpture depicts “a feathered serpent” that appears to show Quetzalcóatl, a god that had been widely worshipped across Mesoamerica for millennia prior to the Spanish conquest, archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said in a statement.

Another sculpture that depicts “a headdress of feathers” also appears to be from the palace and was also reused to build Cortes house, the archaeologists found. 

The discovery of the palace and Cortes’ house “revives the memory of those historical events, five centuries later” the archaeologists said in the statement. 

They made the discoveries during excavation work conducted beneath the National Monte de Piedad, a pawnshop founded in 1775 that aimed to make it easier for the poor to borrow money. 

The excavation work was carried out prior to renovation work being done on the building. Today, the Nacional Monte de Piedad is a nonprofit foundation that performs a wide range of charitable work throughout Mexico. 

30,000-year-old stone tools discovered in Mexican Cave suggest humans reached America much earlier than thought

30,000-year-old stone tools discovered in Mexican Cave suggest humans reached America much earlier than thought

Stone tools unearthed in a cave in Mexico indicate that humans could have lived in the area as early as about 33,000 years ago, researchers report online July 22 in Nature. That’s more than 10,000 years before humans are generally thought to have settled North America.

This controversial discovery enters a new piece of evidence into the fierce debate about when and how the Americas were first populated. The initial peopling of the Americas is a contested and evolving topic, with the exact timing of the first arrivals still unknown.

Historically, Mexico’s understudied and controversial archaeological record has remained on the periphery of First Americans’ research.

Evidence of human presence at Chiquihuite Cave extends this antiquity and attests to the cultural variability of older-than-Clovis sites and the earliest humans on the continent.

“For decades people have passionately debated when the first humans entered the Americas,” said Professor Eske Willerslev, a researcher at St John’s College at the University of Cambridge and director of the Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre at the University of Copenhagen.

“Chiquihuite Cave will create a lot more debate as it is the first site that dates the arrival of people to the continent to around 30,000 years ago — 15,000 years earlier than previously thought.”

“These early visitors didn’t occupy the cave continuously, we think people spent part of the year there using it as a winter or summer shelter, or as a base to hunt during migration.”

“We don’t know who they were, where they came from, or where they went. They are a complete enigma,” added Dr. Ciprian Ardelean, an archaeologist at the University of Zacatecas.

“We falsely assume that the indigenous populations in the Americas today are direct descendants from the earliest Americans, but now we do not think that is the case.”

“By the time the famous Clovis population entered America, the very early Americans had disappeared thousands of years before. There could have been many failed colonization that was lost in time and did not leave genetic traces in the population today.”

Professor Willerslev, Dr. Ardelean, and their colleagues excavated a total of 1,930 stone tools such as knives, scrapers, and arrowheads in Chiquihuite Cave.

Archaeologists have unearthed what appears to be stone tools, including this one, in a cave in central Mexico that date to as early as about 33,000 years ago.

“The collection of artifacts reveals advanced flaking skills applied to challenge raw material, represented by green and blackish varieties of recrystallized limestone,” the scientists said.

“The flaked tools reflect a previously unknown and mostly unchanged technological tradition.”

Examples of stone artifacts from Chiquihuite Cave: (a) core, (b-e) flakes; inlay in b emphasizes an isolated platform, (f-j) blades, (k-o) points

The authors also attempted to identify ancient human DNA in all archaeological layers of the cave.

However, no evidence of human DNA within the samples was found. This adds weight to the theory that the early people didn’t stay for long in the cave.

“We identified DNA from a wide range of animals including black bears, rodents, bats, voles, and even kangaroo rats,” said Dr. Mikkel Winther Pedersen, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen.

“We think these early people would probably have come back for a few months a year to exploit reoccurring natural resources available to them and then move on. Probably when herds of large mammals would have been in the area and who had little experience with humans so they would have been easy prey.”

“The location of Chiquihuite Cave definitely rewrites what has conventionally been taught in history and archaeology and shows that we need to rethink where we look for sites of the earliest people in the Americas.”

Ancient Aztec palace unearthed in Mexico City

Ancient Aztec palace unearthed in Mexico City

Ancient Aztec palace unearthed in Mexico City
Archaeologists say the floor is likely to have formed part of a courtyard

The historic Nacional Monte de Piedad building in Mexico City appears to cover much more than low-interest pawn loans to those in need. As it turns out, the building actually stands on the remains of an Aztec palace.

According to USA Today, the discovery occurred during an inspection by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Experts found basalt slabs on the property that they now believe to be part of the palace’s main courtyard, which later became home to Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés.

The palace, found under a historic pawnshop, was also used by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés
The floors were part of open space in Axayácatl’s palace

In addition to the sheer architectural wonder of the find, the discovery provides a historic glimpse into a world long gone and insight into how the empire changed as the Spanish infiltrated it.

“They [the Spaniards] remodeled a room to celebrate mass, and right there, they also held various rulers captive,” said INAH in a statement. “Starting with their distinguished host: Moctezuma Xocoyotzin.”

The palace was constructed for the Aztec ruler Axayáctl, who oversaw the capital city of Tenochtitlan from 1469 to 1481. Axayáctl’s son was Moctezuma II, one of the empire’s last rulers who was killed in 1520.

The Nacional Monte de Piedad was built in the 1770s and has since become a charity, pawn shop, and loan provider.

Though archaeologists had previously identified parts of the palace over the last two decades, the recent discovery of the building’s foundation was a milestone.

“Given its characteristics, the specialists deduced that it was part of an open space in the former Palace of Axayáctl, probably a courtyard,” the INAH statement continued. “While in that palace, numerous events took place,” including perhaps the death of Moctezuma himself.

The basalt slabs were first found in September 2017 as officials were making preliminary efforts to refurbish the National Monte de Piedad. The entire following year was essentially spent on unearthing the rest of the foundation to assess and authenticate these remnants.

In addition to the palace, experts found the remains of a house built by Cortés after the fall of Tenochtitlan in 1521.

The Spanish ruthlessly ordered the Aztecs to destroy their temples and palaces upon taking control, while using the same materials to build entirely new structures — like this house.

“These premises, like so many other structures of the Sacred Precinct of Tenochtitlan, were destroyed by the Spanish and their indigenous allies, almost to their foundations,” INAH explained.

The institute added that the conquistador and his troops inhabited the new home for numerous years. It even became the first seat of their new government in 1525.

Now, nearly 500 years later, that same site serves as a national charity, pawnshop, and loan provider.

Excavations in Mexico continue to astound experts in the region. Recently, pre-hispanic sweat lodges used by the Mexica people to worship deities were unearthed in Mexico City.

Ultimately, these discoveries show how history can vanish in a blink — and resurface just as suddenly centuries later.

11,000-year-old mine in the underwater cave found by archaeologists

11,000-year-old mine in the underwater cave found by archaeologists

Paleoindian ochre mining has been found by divers in three underwater caves near Akumal, on the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico.

From the Maya era, the cave’s were a source of mineral and pigment but they were long preceded by mining activity in this Cave at the end of the latter ice age, 12,000 years ago, and 2000 more. That makes this cave networks the oldest known mine in the Americas.

The cave became submerged with the postglacial rise of sea levels about 8,000 years ago and the saltwater in limestone caves helped preserved the archaeological evidence left by the ancient miners.

Over the course of 100 dives since 2017, underwater archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) divers with the Research Center for the Aquifer System of Quintana Roo (CINDAQ) have explored more than four miles of tunnels and passages in three cave systems.

A recent survey of a half-mile section of passages known as La Mina revealed 155 stacks of stones, tools, charcoal remains of human-set fires on the floor, soot accumulation on the ceiling and most probative of all, pits and trenches carved out of the floor where trace mineral analysis found ocher residue.

Stalactites and stalagmites were deliberately broken to allow people and materials to navigate the narrow passages. The flowstone floor was cracked and shattered to extract the ochre underneath it. Broken stalactite/stalagmites were used as hammerstones. Piles of mine spoil line the walls.

There was a comprehensive mining program, all of it done in the dark areas of the cave. The closest natural light source was at a minimum of 650 feet away, more than 2,000 feet away at the furthest point.

“The cave’s landscape has been noticeably altered, which leads us to believe that prehistoric humans extracted tonnes of ocher from it, maybe having to light fire pits to illuminate the space,” points out Fred Devos.

Until now, no human skeletal remains have been found; however, rudimentary digging tools, signs —that would have been used in order not to get lost— and stacks of stones left behind by this primitive mining activity have been located.

The abundance of ocher filled cavities has led experts to theorize about the rocks themselves being used as tools to excavate and break down the stone.

Iron-rich red ochre was used by humans for tens of thousands of years. The mineral pigment was used in rock art, funerary rituals, pottery decoration, and personal adornment.

In ancient America, ochre has been discovered in art, on human remains, in toolkits, on grinding stones, in tanned hides, and much more. La Mina’s ochre was of particularly high quality, very pure in iron oxide and composed of particles so fine-grained that it was basically ready for use as paint as soon as it was mined.

Skeletal remains have been discovered in other cenotes. The 12,000-year-old skeleton of a teenage girl dubbed Naia found in the cenote of Hoyo Negro near Tulum less than 20 miles southwest of Akumal is the oldest complete human skeleton in the Western Hemisphere.

Naia was a contemporary of the miners who sought ochre in caves 15 miles away from her final resting place.

The discovery that these cave systems were mined for thousands of years opens up the possibility that instead of falling victim to an accident — the going theory as regards Paleoindian remains in cenotes — individuals like Naia may have been scouting caves for valuable ochre.

The secret cave lies hidden below the enormous ‘Moon Pyramid’

The secret cave lies hidden below the enormous ‘Moon Pyramid’

A secret cave hidden underneath a Mexican pyramid offers clues about the urban design of Teotihuacan, one of the largest and most vibrant cities of ancient times.

Located about 80 kilometers outside of today’s Mexico City, Teotihuacan peaked in AD 300–650, well before the Aztecs. The city boasted three monumental pyramids arranged along the 2.4-kilometer ‘Street of the Dead’.

Two of the pyramids were already known to overlie caves and tunnels, which were excavated by Teotihuacanos to obtain construction materials, and were later repurposed for activities such as astronomical observations, the veneration of death and the enthronement of rulers.

Denisse Argote at the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City and her colleagues measured the electrical resistance of the ground beneath the third structure, the 43-meter-high Moon Pyramid.

They discovered a partially filled cavern about 15 meters underneath the edifice.

Unlike the other caves, this one seems to have formed naturally. Argote and her colleagues think the first settlers of Teotihuacan might have chosen it to be the focal point from which the rest of the city was planned.

Hard Science Unlocks Secrets of Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Moon

Previous archaeological digs at Teotihuacan have revealed a series of man-made tunnels beneath the Pyramids of the Sun and of Quetzalcoatl, the latter of which is also called the Temple of the Feathered-Serpent.

These had mostly been excavated for construction materials in upper structures, and according to a report in Heritage Daily, these tunnels were later “repurposed for astronomical observations and for venerating death in the underworld.”

The team of scientists applied ERT and ANT surveys, which are non-invasive geophysical techniques analyzing the electrical resistance of the ground beneath the structure.

They identified a natural void beneath the Pyramid of the Moon and a partially filled cavern at a depth of 15 meters (49 ft.) Contrasting with the man-made tunnels beneath the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl at Teotihuacan, the researchers believe that the cave under the Pyramid of the Moon “formed naturally,” and had been a focal point for the early settlers, in turn, influencing how the city was planned out.

Otherworldly Architectural Town Planning

With the placement of the pyramid at the end of the Avenue of the Dead, at the foot of Cerro Gordo, shaped to reflect the contours of these mountains, the researchers theorize that it was “symbolic of a connection between the avenue and the watery underworld, whereas the mountain serves as an anchor to the earth.” They said the impact of this discovery opens a discussion about the original planning of Teotihuacan ’s urban design.

The discovery under Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Moon help’s explain the city’s urban design.

The first human establishment in the area dates back to around 600 BC when farmers began tilling the Teotihuacan Valley, which at that time had a total population of about 6,000 inhabitants.

However, due to the development of successful agricultural technologies, from 100 BC to 750 AD, Teotihuacan morphed into a huge urban and administrative center with cultural influences throughout Mesoamerica.

Mapping the Ancient Underworld

Period III, from 350 to 650 AD, the so-called classical period of Teotihuacan, had an estimated 125,000 inhabitants. At that time it was one of the largest cities of the ancient world – with over 2,000 buildings in an 18 square kilometer (6.95 sq. mile) area. 

This period saw the massive reconstruction of monuments; including the decorating of the Temple of the Feathered Serpent which dates back to an earlier period.

Period IV, between 650 and 750 AD, marks the end of Teotihuacan as a major power in Mesoamerica. The remains of the homes of the city’s elites, which line the Avenue of the Dead, bear burn marks which lead archaeologists to hypothesize that the city experienced waves of violent social unrest that brought about the city’s decline.

What the newly discovered cave system essentially does is answer the question “why” the first settlers stopped here and started building precisely where they did, and not say 10 miles east or five miles south.

The cave beneath the pyramid suggests that people revered this natural access to the underworld so much that around it they built one of the most influential and biggest cities of the ancient world.

And the remains of that vast crumbling ancient city, which was aligned with the Sun, moon, and stars, it would seem, is a 1:1 map of the underworld – with the Avenue of the Dead acting as the main channel to the other side.

Grisly Child Sacrifice Found at Foot of Ancient Aztec Temple

Grisly Child Sacrifice Found at Foot of Ancient Aztec Temple

Archaeologists discovered the site of children’s sacrifice at the foot of an ancient temple in a ruined Aztec city, located at the foot of the ancient Templo Mayor temple in the center of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan.

It is believed that the young child was sacrificed to the Aztec war god Huitzilopochtli in the late fifteenth century. The sacrifice of children appears to have been relatively common in ancient Southern and Central American cultures.

Aztecs undertook human sacrifices, including children, as they believed this would bring the rains their crops needed to grow. The discovery comes 12 years after the location of the first child sacrifice site at the archaeological site, now in the center of the Mexican capital, Mexico City.

Archaeologists unearthed the remains of the young child, believed to have been sacrificed in the late fifteenth century, at the foot of an ancient temple in Mexico, in the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan, which is now the center of the Mexican capital, Mexico City

The child’s bones were reportedly found along with body adornments and symbols characteristic of Huitzilopochtli.

The remains, named ‘Offering 176’, were found under the floor of a square to the west of the Templo Mayor, which was the center of the ancient city.

The young child was believed to have been sacrificed in the late 15th century. The body of the child sacrifice was found hidden beneath stone slabs

The Aztecs had to raise a series of stone slabs from the floor to make way for the body, archaeologists point out. They then dug a pit in the ground and built a cylindrical box in which the child was placed with volcanic rocks, stuck together with stucco.

One expert told reporters: ‘Then they filled the square with soil brought from the banks of the old lake to build another square on top of it.’

A team made up of the archaeologists Rodolfo Aguilar Tapia, Mary Laidy Hernández Ramírez and Karina López Hernández, together with the physical anthropologist Jacqueline Castro Irineo, had the mission to excavate the find of the Offering 176.

The Aztecs built a cylindrical box in which the child was placed with volcanic rocks, stuck together with stucco. This image shows the remains that were excavated

Each of the human bones and the numerous objects made with different raw materials has been carefully excavated, cleaned, and registered. The discovery comes after hundreds of skulls were recently found in Tenochtitlan that is believed to have been placed on public display in ritual sacrifices.

Tenochtitlan was built on an island in what was then Lake Texcoco in the Valley of Mexico. The city was the capital of the expanding Aztec Empire in the 15th century until it was captured by the Spanish in 1521.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the Pre-Columbian Americas.  Aztec human sacrifices were far more widespread and grisly that previously thought, archaeologists revealed in June. 

A stone Tzompantli (skull rack) found during the excavations of Templo Mayor (Great Temple) in Tenochtitlan. New research has found the ‘skull towers’ which used real human heads were just a small part of a massive display of skulls known as Huey Tzompantli

In 2015 Archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) found a gruesome ‘trophy rack’ near the site of the Templo Mayor.

Now, they say the find was just the tip of the iceberg, and that the ‘skull tower’ was just a small part of a massive display of skulls known as Huey Tzompantli that was the size of a basketball court.

In two seasons of excavations, archaeologists collected 180 mostly complete skulls from the tower and thousands of skull fragments. Cut marks confirm that they were ‘defleshed’ after death and the decapitation marks are ‘clean and uniform.’

Three-quarters of the skulls analyzed belonged to men, mostly aged between 20 and 35. Some 20 percent belonged to women and the remaining five percent were children.