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Disfigured Remains Analyzed in Mexico

Monday, May 13, 2019

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO—According to an Associated Press report, disfigured human remains uncovered at the Zultepec-Teoaque site have been analyzed by archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History. A convoy of about 75 Spaniards and several hundred of their foot soldiers and allies were traveling from Cuba to the Aztec capital with supplies to reinforce Hernan Cortes in 1520 when they were captured by residents of the Aztec-allied city of Zultepec. Cut marks on the bones indicate the men, women, and horses in the convoy were sacrificed and eaten over a span of several months. Analysis of the bones found at the site, including skulls on racks, suggests the women were pregnant, which is thought to have qualified them as “warriors.” Archaeologist Enrique Martínez said the bodies were also used to enact scenes from creation myths. One man was dismembered and burned as described in the myth of “El Quinto Sol,” or Fifth Sun, in which Huitzilopochtli, the god of the sun, must be nourished with blood. The town took the name Tecoaque, which means “the place where they ate them” in Nahuatl, Martínez explained. For more on the colonization of the Americas, go to “Conquistador Contagion.”

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