|Moctezuma II Exhibition Opens and Experts Hope to Uncover an Emperor's Tomb Soon|
A detail of a massive stone sculpture of the Aztec goddess Tlaltecuhtli is displayed for the first time prior to the opening of the exposition "Moctezuma II, Times and Destiny of a Ruler" at Mexico City's Templo Mayor museum Wednesday, June 16 2010. The largest Aztec stone sculpture ever found with its original coloring, the deity sat atop a Mexico City site where archaeologists believe the ashes of Aztec rulers were buried. Although no burial site has been found, offerings have been found nearby since 2007 and now archaeologists plan to dig a lateral tunnel in hopes of finding the tombs they still believe are nearby. AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo.
By: Mark Stevenson, Associated Press Writer
MEXICO CITY (AP).- Archaeologists found some of the richest and most unusual Aztec offerings ever in excavations under a mammoth slab depicting an earth goddess and said Wednesday they hope to uncover an emperor's tomb nearby.
The seven offerings of strange and unparalleled oddities found under the stone slab depicting the goddess Tlaltecuhtli include the skeleton of a dog or wolf dressed in turquoise ear plugs, jadeite necklaces and golden bells on its feet.
The 4-meter (13-foot) long carving of Tlaltecuhtli (tlahl-tay-KOO-tlee) was found in 2006 near the edge of the Templo Mayor pyramid in downtown Mexico City. It was lifted out in 2007 and archaeologists began digging underneath.
On Wednesday, the huge stone monument was put on display for reporters before its first public exhibition. The sculpture itself challenges the public perception of Aztec monuments as bare stone-colored carvings, because it preserves a half-dozen original colors in which it was originally painted, including rich ochre, red, yellow and blue hues.
Archaeologist Leonardo Lopez Lujan said the presence of shells from distant seas, gold earrings and collars as well as strange wooden daggers found under the slab suggest that a very important person is buried nearby.
"These are offerings that we have never seen before, and obviously they give us very good indications that at some point we can find a royal tomb," Lopez Lujan said.
The offerings dedicated to gods, not rulers are from such far-flung corners of the continent that "they are telling us we are dealing with a big, big empire," he said.
Historical records from the time of Spain's 1521 conquest and markings on the Tlaltecuhtli slab suggest the Aztec emperor Ahuizotl, who died in 1502, was cremated and his ashes buried somewhere at the foot of the Templo Mayor pyramid.
Researchers originally thought the tomb might lie directly below the slab. But with only about 2 meters (6½ feet) left to dig downward in 12.5-meter (41-foot) deep pits excavated since 2007, Lujan said researchers plan to dig a lateral tunnel 5 meters (16.4 feet) to the west, to see if they can find the cremated remains of Ahuizotl or his predecessors.
They would like to go farther with lateral excavations, but the water-soaked, unstable soil and the possibility of damaging valuable, colonial-era buildings that still stand around the site make that impossible. Radar and other images suggest soil disturbances near the current pit, but Lopez Lujan said those could be naturally caused.
Archaeologists have been looking for the tombs of the Aztec emperors for decades. Unlike the sepulcher of Mayan leaders, no Aztec royal burial site has ever been found.
Depicted as a woman with huge claws and a stream of blood flowing into her mouth as she squats to give birth, Tlaltecuhtli was believed to devour the dead and then give them new life. The god was so fearsome that Aztecs normally buried her depictions face down in the earth. However, this one was face-up.
In the claw of her right foot, the god holds a rabbit and 10 dots, indicating the date "10 Rabbit" 1502, the year of Ahuizotl's death.
"What better monument for a funerary area ... than a goddess who devours the dead," Lopez Lujan said.
While the exhibition is dedicated to Moctezuma II the last Aztec emperor, who took over from Ahuizotl and was defeated by the Spanish the excavation is unlikely to shed any light on where his ashes lie.
Lopez Lujan said some versions say that while Moctezuma was cremated, his ashes may have been mixed with water and drunk by his subjects.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
June 18, 2010
Moctezuma II Exhibition Opens and Experts Hope to Uncover an Emperor's Tomb Soon
Mark Twain's Unpublished Manuscript, 'A Family Sketch', Sets Auction Record
Faulkner, Kerouac, and Wall Street to Be Sold at Christie's
Marlborough Fine Art Holds First Ever UK Exhibition of Picasso's Women in Print
United States Returns 7 Stolen Ancient Cambodian Sculptures
David D. Holbrook Elected Chairman of Noguchi Museum Board of Trustees
Lombard-Freid Projects Presents Heat Wave, a Group Show
New Exhibition Takes Visitors into Madeleine Albright's Jewelry Box
Deichtorhallen Shows Works by Leading Russian-Ukrainian Sergey Bratkov
The Family and the Land: Sally Mann at the Photographer's Gallery
Sotheby's to Sell Rare 19th Century Sculptures Recently Discovered in Ireland
New Works: A Series of Monotypes by Francoise Gilot at BLT Gallery
French Ceramics from the Boone Collection Go to the Huntington and LACMA
Musée de l'Elysée Features Tomorrow's Photographers Today
Single-Owner Ceramic Collection from the Factory of Marie Antoinette's Sister to Make 500,000 Pounds at Bonhams
Albertina Opens Walton Ford's First Exhibition in Austria
Object Strategies Between Readymade and Spectacle at Museo Reina Sofia
Artist Banksy's Rat with Suitcase Stolen in Australia
French Engineer Saves Damascus Treasures
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Five lead coffins found in French convent yield well-preserved 17th century skeletons
2.- Palace of Versailles welcomes Anish Kapoor for a major contemporary art exhibition
3.- After eight years of research, Mauritshuis attributes 'Saul and David' painting to Rembrandt
4.- France steps in to save royal items from auction to take place later this year
5.- 'ReSignifications: Imagining the Black Body and Re-Staging Histories' opens in Florence
6.- Never-before-seen colour photographs of French actress Brigitte Bardot on view at Dadiani Fine Art
7.- Sotheby's to offer one of the greatest portraits by Gustav Klimt to come to auction
8.- Archaeological excavations in Australia reveal a 2,000-year-old natural marine pearl
9.- Hollywood costume designer Elizabeth Galindo, dead at age 59
10.- The most important Beatle guitar ever to hit the auction block goes up for sale
Mexico's Mayas face Dec. 21 with ancestral calm
Diverse Cultures Contributed to New Mexico Art
Mexican Authorities Recover 144 Original Pre-Columbian Pieces and Colonial Religious Works
Objects Found in Teotihuacan Neighborhood Exhibited
Reconstruction of 10,000 Year-Old Woman Found in Mexico Suggests Diverse Migration
Diego Rivera Created the Mexican Revolution Plastic Myth
More Findings Registered Under Palacio de Bellas Artes
Vestiges of a Prehispanic Oven to Melt Copper Found in Zacatecas
Ichnites Site in Coahuila Undergo Maintenance Thanks to Temporary Employment Program
Tembleque Aqueduct Registered in 3D Images
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|