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Four skulls, part of an altar made of human bones, found in Mexico City subway dig
The skulls each show perforations of the temples, which indicates that they were probably placed on a rod or stick to be displayed on a "tzompantli," or skull rack, where the skulls of sacrificial victims were commonly mounted. Photo: DSA-INAH.

Translated by: Cristina Perez Ayala

MEXICO CITY.- Four craniums which were a part of a tzompantli were some of the archeological findings during the construction of Line 12 of the subway, along with structural evidence of prehispanic settlements like: homes, adobe braziers, floors, stone canals and slabs, ceramic and stone materials and a myriad of burials, most of them infants.

“The work done by the biology and physical anthropology departments revealed that the craniums once belonged to a Tzompantli, the first of a canine, the second to a man judged to be between the ages of 25 and 35, the third of a woman between 18 to 22, and the fourth to a man no older than 35. We know that during the Conquest some horse skulls were placed in these types of structures, but not canine craniums. We need more information. There are too few tzompantlis found in the City of Mexico; we are currently aware of only the ones found in Tlatelolco and the Main Temple,” the archeologist of the Directorate of Archeological Rescue (DSA) of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), María de Jesús Sánchez declares.

More structural remnants of stone, floors, a platform, adobe braziers, fragments of domestic ceramic of the Aztec I and II types, spindles, bone needles and 26 burials of infants in pots and dirt were found in subway station Mexicaltzingo.

Elsewhere, in the entrance to the station Lomas Estrella, skeletons of two adults were found. The first completely flexed in fetal position and the second adult in a sitting position; both of them have an estimated 500 years of antiquity.

Another burial of an adult was found in subway station Parque de los Venados and during the initial arrangements for the placement of plumbing for drinking water in Patriotismo there was a finding of a section of bones from another individual.

Archeologists María de Jesús Sánchez and Georgina Tenango Salgado pointed out that recently they had received word of a project to expand the route of Line 12 of the subway to the northwest, adding three more stations and with plans to cross with Line 1 on station Observatorio.

“We’ve already handed in a proposal for an exploration with the DSA along with the Council of Archeology in the INAH. According to previous constructions by the Road Distributor of San Antonio and near Tacubaya, there seems to be settlements of the Classic period (100 to 750 a.C.) of import which must be investigated,” they finalized.

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January 2, 2014

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