Archaeologists in Mexico recently unearthed what they believe to be an Aztec sacrificial stone, 50 skulls and about 250 jaw bones.
The skulls, which were found in modern day Mexico City, are believed to have been the result of a brutal Aztec ritual during which victims were killed by priests who cut their abdomens open from stomach to throat in order to pull out their still-beating hearts. The victims were sacrificed as offerings to
Mictlantecuhtli, god of death.
The human remains date back more than 500 years and are said to be the largest number of skulls ever found in one offering.
Though 50 skulls were found in different locations. Five of the skulls had holes on both sides and appear to have belonged to a skull rack known as a tzompantli (see drawing).
‘Some of the 45 skulls found on the sacrificial stone were manipulated with the intention of preparing skull-masks that were never finished,’ archaeologist Raul Barrera of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) told Discovery News.
The majority of the skulls are believed to have been buried between 1440 and 1469, with those with the holes in them likely buried earlier – between 1375 and 1427.
The location of Mexico City was once the site of the capital of the Aztec civilization, Tenochtitland.