Archaeology Magazine

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Offerings of 400 Animal Species Found in Templo Mayor

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

(Photograph by Steve Bird)MEXICO CITY, MEXICO—The remains of more than 400 animal species, including fish from coral reefs, crocodiles, snakes, turtles, toucans, quetzals, and jaguars have been identified in 60 offerings found at the complex of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlán. The animals appear to have been prepared to be left in the temple so that they would maintain their shape with intact skin. “Such fauna has been found in sacrifices to the rain god Tlaloc and to Huitzilopochtli, god of war, from the fourth to the seven stages (1440-1520) of the Great Temple’s construction. The animals are always exotic species, spectacularly beautiful, or with rough, spiny hides, sometimes dangerous or venomous,” said Norma Valentin Maldonado of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.