search
Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

archaeology
subscribe
Special Introductory Offer!

Temple Dedicated to Xipe Totec Discovered in Central Mexico

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Xipe Totec statuesMEXICO CITY, MEXICO—According to a BBC News report, a temple dedicated to the god Xipe Totec has been discovered in central Mexico at the site of Ndachjian-Tehuacan by a team of National Institute of Anthropology and History archaeologists. Xipe Totec, god of fertility and regeneration, is usually depicted wearing sandals, a loincloth, and the skin of a sacrificed human. The site is thought to have been constructed by the Popolocas between A.D. 1000 and 1260, before they were conquered by the Aztecs. Worship of Xipe Totec later spread throughout Mesoamerica. Accounts of rituals dedicated to the god suggest people were sacrificed through combat or shot with arrows on one platform, and then skinned on another platform, which conforms to the layout of the newly discovered temple. Priests are then said to have worn the skins in rituals. Sculptures found in the temple include two large skull-like figures carved from imported volcanic stone, and a torso measuring about 31 inches long. A right hand is shown hanging from the figure’s left arm, perhaps representing the skin of a sacrificed person. The written sources also say a green stone would have been placed in a hole in the statue’s belly during ceremonies. To read in-depth about archaeology in Mexico City, go to “Under Mexico City.”

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement