Aztec temple and ball court found in Mexico City

Ancient Aztec temple dedicated to the wind god Ehécatl and an adjacent ceremonial ball court were discovered in Mexico City, Mexico, behind the Catedral Metropolitana.

Remains of the temple of Ehécatl (by Programa de Arqueología Urbana)

The site where the temple was found spans seven blocks in Mexico City’s historic district, and is located behind the Catedral Metropolitana. The 36-meters-long temple of Ehécatl and the nearby 9-metre-wide ball-court platform were recently disclosed to the media and public. Moreover, close to the ball court sets of neck bones representing about 30 individuals, all infants and children were discovered. The collection of  children’s neck bones might have belonged to sacrificial victims who were decapitated as offerings to accompany the ritual game. Ehécatl, the deity to which the temple was dedicated to, was a god of winds that attracted rainfall, but behind his temple archaeologists found representations of other deities – Tláloc, a god of rain and agricultural fertility, and the warrior god Huitzilopochtli.

Remains of an ancient Aztec ball court (by Héctor Montaño)

Archaeologists identified the site of the ritual ball court after seven years of excavations in a project called the Programa de Arqueología Urbana (Urban Archaeology Program) that started 25 years ago. It is aimed at uncovering the remains of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, razed in 1521 by Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés. Both the temple and the ball court were likely in use from at least 1481 until 1519 AD. Officials said they plan to open the site to the public, although no date has been set.

Overview of the site (by PhysOrg)

(after PhysOrg, Héctor Montaño, Live Science & Programa de Arqueología Urbana)

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