Pre-columbian Mexico October 2011

1.  MEXICO CITY (AP).-artdaily.org  Archaeologists found a round Aztec ceremonial platform studded with stone carvings of serpent heads at Mexico City's Templo Mayor ruin, raising hopes in the search for an emperor's tomb, authorities said Thursday. No Aztec ruler's tomb has ever been located and researchers have been on a five-year quest to find a royal tomb in the area of the Templo Mayor, a
complex of two huge pyramids and numerous smaller structures that contained the ceremonial and spiritual heart of the pre-Hispanic Aztec empire. Mexico's National Institute of History and Anthropology said the stone platform is about 15 yards (meters) in diameter and probably built around A.D. 1469. The site lies in downtown Mexico City, which was built by Spanish conquerors atop the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan. "The historical records say that the rulers were cremated at the foot of the Templo Mayor, and it is believed to be on this same structure — the 'cuauhxicalco' — that the rulers were cremated," said archaeologist Raul Barrera. "That is what the historical sources say," he said, referring to accounts written by Roman Catholic priests who accompanied the Spanish soldiers in the 1521 conquest. "Of course, now we have to find archaeological evidence to corroborate that." He said the platform, which is still being unearthed, was gradually uncovered over the preceding months. It is covered with at least 19 serpent heads, each about a half-yard (meter) long. Barrera said accounts from the 1500s suggested the platform was also used in a colorful ceremony in which an Aztec priest would descend from the nearby pyramid with a snake made of paper and burn it on the platform. Records indicate there were a total of five such platforms in the temple complex. One was found several years ago, but that platform was farther from the ritually important spot at the foot of the pyramid, where the most recent finding was made. In 1997, archaeologists using ground-penetrating radar on a site very close to where the latest stone platform was found detected possible underground
chambers that they believed at the time might contain the remains of Emperor Ahuizotl, who ruled the Aztecs when Columbus landed in the New World. Subsequent excavations turned up a sort of stairway leading down and lots of ritual offerings of shells, animal bones and pots, but no tomb. Archaeologists agree any such find would be very significant. "This would be quite an important find for Aztec archaeology," said Michael Smith, an archaeologist at Arizona State University who is not connected to the dig. "It would be tremendously important because it would be direct information about kingship, burial and the empire that is difficult to come by otherwise." He says the find shows that archaeologists are inching closer and closer to finding an Aztec royal tomb."

2.   MEXICO CITY.- Five footprints from human feet, calculated to be between 4,500 and 25,000 years old, were discovered in the Sierra Tarahumara, in Chihuahua. Specialists said that the foot prints could belong to the first men who lived in this region that is today known as northern Mexico.
These are the first human footprints that have been found in Chihuahua and once their age has been found out, they will be added to the few footprints from the first people that lived in the American continent that are preserved in Mexico, particularly in Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila and in a ranch in Sonora. The footprints correspond to three adults and a child that probably lived in the caves that are located in the sierra, in the Valle de Ahuatos, eight kilometers from the town of Creel, in Chihuahua.
According to morphoscopic analysis, footprint 1, by its longitude of 26 centimeters, corresponds to the right foot of a male adult, while footprint number 2 belongs to the left foot of another adult, but it being the less defined it has been difficult to identify the sex of the person that made it. Footprint
number 3 was made by an infant 3 or 4 years old and corresponds to the right foot with a longitude of 17 centimeters. Footprints 4 and 5 are from another adult and represent the only pair that corresponds to the same person, which was found two meters away from footprint 1; the fohe left foot print (footprint 4) has a longitude of 23.7 centimeters, while the right (footprint 5) measures 24.5 centimeters, these footprints are significant as they have six toes, which may be due a malformation. Anthropologist José Concepción Jiménez said that the finding of the human footprints was made by an email that a citizen from Chihuahua sent to the Seminario del Hombre Temprano in Mexico, telling about the existence of ancient human fooprints in the Valle de Ahuatos, in the municipality of
Bocoyna. “We explored the surface to verify the information and we couldn´t find the
footprints, it was very hard to find them because they are not easy to identify.