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Mexican Wind God Temple Could Be Site Of Human Sacrifices

Mexican archaeologists have discovered a temple believed to have been dedicated to Ehécatl-Quetzalcóatl, the Aztec wind god. The temple was found buried underneath the site of a former supermarket which was being demolished to make way for a new shopping center. The ruins consist of a roughly pyramidal platform measuring 36 feet (11 meters) in diameter and four feet tall (1.2 meters).

Researchers were surprised to find such a significant site hiding below a supermarket.

Researchers were surprised to find such a significant site hiding below a supermarket.

The excavation of the site is being overseen by researchers with the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History, who believe the temple to be around 650 years old. However, analysis so far has revealed that the temple was completed in stages, the most recent of which appears to have been completed around 1427, shortly before European colonization.

This new discovery was made only around 300 feet (100 meters) away from the Tlatelolco archaeological zone, a site containing several pre-Colombian ruins. Excavating this site is made difficult by the fact that Mexico City has been built around and in some cases directly on top of these existing archaeological sites.

The Tlatelolco archaeological zone is found in the heart of the sprawling metropolis of Mexico City.

The Tlatelolco archaeological zone.

Director of the Tlatelolco archaeological zone, Edwina Villegas, told Mexico News Daily that the site appears to have been used for some sort of Aztec rituals, based on artifacts found nearby:

We found a basket that contained the skeleton of a newborn child, maguey thorns, bird bones, capstans, incense burners and pieces of obsidian and pottery.

In fact, a total of eight skeletons were found around the temple: six infants, an adult female, and an adult male. While so far no conclusions have been drawn from the remains, human sacrifice was a commonplace practice in pre-Colombian Aztec society.

An Aztec ceremonial knife.

An Aztec ceremonial knife.

Some estimates posit that as many as 250,000 humans were sacrificed each year by the Aztecs, although these estimates vary greatly and concrete evidence of  how widespread the practice was remains scant. However, each new discovery such as this wind temple puts archaeologists closer to solving the many mysteries lingering over the legacy of the Aztec civilization.