ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed the remains of dozens more Aztec men, women and children at a chilling “tower of skulls” underneath Mexico City.
Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said a further 119 severed heads had been found at the grisly 15th century shrine.
Dozens more skulls have been found at an Aztec shrine under Mexico CityCredit: Reuters
More skulls may still be unearthed as the excavation goes on
The five-metre tower was discovered during the restoration of a building and is believed to be part of a skull rack from the temple to the Aztec god of the sun, war and human sacrifice.
The gruesome new discovery is thought to form part of the Huei Tzompantli – an array of skulls that struck fear into the Spanish conquistadores when they captured the city .
According to experts the remains are of people believed to have been captured enemy warriors while others could have been killed in ritual sacrifices to appease the gods.
Archaeologist Barrera Rodriguez said: “Although we cannot determine how many of these individuals were warriors, perhaps some were captives set aside for sacrificial ceremonies.”
Three-quarters of the skulls analysed belonged to men aged between 20 and 35Credit: Reiters
Women and children were found among the remains, which were previously thought to be just warriorsCredit: Reuters
More than 650 skulls caked in lime and thousands of fragments have now been unearthedCredit: Reiters
More than 600 skulls have now been found at the chilling site which is now being described as “one of the country’s most important archaeological discoveries in years.”
It is located in the area of the Templo Mayor, one of the main temples of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan in the historic district of modern-day Mexico City.
“At every step, the Templo Mayor continues to surprise us,” Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto said in a statement.
“The Huei Tzompantli is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive archaeological finds in our country in recent years.”
Pyramid temples in the 15th century Aztec city of Tenochtitlan – now the site of Mexico City
The statement noted that in Mesoamerica human sacrifice was seen as a way of ensuring the continued existence of the universe.
For that reason, experts consider the tower to be “a building of life rather than death,” it said.
The Aztecs and other Mesoamerican peoples performed ritualistic human sacrifices as offerings to the sun.
Archaeologists have identified three construction phases of the tower, which dates back to between 1486 and 1502.
Human sacrifice has been recorded in ancient cultures throughout the world.
Vicious Chinese rulers enslaved captives for years at a time before slaughtering them as ritual offerings to the gods, researchers have discovered.
A group of archaeologists has painstakingly analysed the remains of human sacrifice victims killed during the Shang dynasty, which ruled the Yellow River Valley between the 16th and 11th centuries BC.
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