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Aztec Wolf Burial Found in Mexico City

Friday, July 7, 2017

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO—According to a report in Reuters, the remains of a young wolf sacrificed some 500 years ago have been found in a stone box near the Zócalo, Mexico City’s main square and the site of the Templo Mayor, Tenochtitlan’s main ceremonial center before the arrival of the Spanish. The cache was damaged in 1900 when a sewage line was installed, but otherwise it was undisturbed. Archaeologist Leonardo Lopez said that after the wolf had been killed, it was adorned with ornaments crafted from precious metals, including pendants covered with symbols, a nose ring, and a chest plate, and belts made of shells from the Atlantic Ocean. The wolf’s body was then placed in the stone box, along with the remains of other animals from the air, land, and sea. The box was then set on a layer of flint knives. Wolves are thought to represent Huitzilopochtli, Aztec god of war and the sun. Wolves may have also been believed to help guide fallen warriors to the underworld. Lopez added that the wolf’s ribs will be studied to try to determine if its heart was removed during the sacrifice. To read in-depth about excavations of Tenochtitlan, go to "Under Mexico City."

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