Archaeologists in Mexico City Unearth Massive ‘Tower of Skulls’

New find reveals surprising facts about Aztec civilization's penchant for human sacrifice.

July 5, 2017 11:36 am
Aztec 'Tower of Skulls' Discovered in Mexico City
Vintage illustration of an Aztec priest removing the heart of a victim as a sacrifice to the gods; engraving, 1889. (GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)

Archaeologists digging in Mexico City recently unearthed a massive “tower of skulls,” dating back to the era of the Aztecs, per the Washington Post.

As the Post noted in a 1983 article, Andre’s de Ta’pia, a soldier in Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés’ army in 1521, when the Aztec empire fell, chronicled that the warring party had come across a tower of heads 136,000 strong.

Nearly 500 years later, the heads may have been discovered at a site whose diameter is 20 feet in length (diggers haven’t even reached the bottom  yet), and near a chapel to the god of the sun, Huitzilopochtli.

While archaeologists hypothesized that those sacrificed were men and other prisoners of war, this is actually not the case. “What we are seeing … is that [there were] women and children, too,” Rodrigo Bolanos, an anthropologist cooperating in the dig, told Reuters.

The purpose of the tower? A not-so-subtle “don’t mess with us” from the Aztecs directed at Spanish conquistadors.

Take a look at the archaeological site below.

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