The Human-Shaped Stone ‘Effigies’ Discovered At An Aztec Temple In Mexico City Were Probably Looted During War And Sacrificed To The Gods

A variety of stone artefacts fashioned to resemble humans were found by archaeologists in Mexico City at a former Aztec site.

The 15 stone figurines depict 14 men and one woman. (Image credit: Templo Mayor Project)

Stone carvings of persons have been discovered by archaeologists in Mexico City; these carvings were probably used as offerings by the Aztecs.

The 15 artifacts were found concealed inside a stone chest buried on the site of the Templo Mayor, which once housed Tenochtitlan’s temple complex and served as the Aztec Empire’s capital. According to a translated account, Spanish armies demolished the temple in 1521; now, the location is home to the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral.

The smallest of the set of items depicts a lady, and fourteen of them show men.

According to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, every figurine is in the Mezcala style, which was used by an early Mesoamerican society famed for producing human-like artifacts in the state of Guerrero in southern Mexico.

According to the statement, experts believe that the Aztecs treasured Mezcala artifacts and may have looted the statues during combat.

This indicates that the figures were genuine antiques, some of them more than 1,000 years old, when the Mexicas (Aztecs) subdued those peoples, according to archaeologist Leonardo López Luján, director of the Templo Mayor Project, which oversaw the excavation. They were probably used as cult effigies that they took as loot from battle.

The chest contained two rattlesnake-shaped earrings, 186 green metamorphic stone beads, snails, shells, and marine corals in addition to the figurines.

According to López Luján’s assertion, “In their homes, the Mexicas used to keep their most precious belongings in palm-frond chests, such as fine feathers, jewelry, or cotton garments. And if we see it from the Templo Mayor … we can imagine the priests storing in these ‘stone cases’ the quintessential symbols of water and fertility: sculptures of the rain gods, green stone beads, shells and snails.”


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