Aztec Dog Skull Offering Found in Mexico City Subway

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[E]xcavations for a Mexico City subway extension have turned up what appears to be an unusual Aztec offering: a dog’s skull with holes that indicate it was displayed on a ritual skull rack normally reserved for human sacrifice victims.

The skull racks usually displayed the severed heads of captured warriors from rival groups, who were sacrificed as an offering to the gods. “We know that during the conquest some horse skulls were placed on this type of structure, but not dogs,” said institute archaeologist Maria de Jesus Sanchez.

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This is a neat story, not least because it touches my focus of study in college.

Also found in this batch were two men’s skulls and – more surprising – a woman’s skull.

Tzompantli skull racks (pronounced “tsoom-pahn-tlee”) were essentially victory monuments. The presence of the woman and dog’s skulls is highly unusual, but it isn’t terribly difficult to see how they might have wound up there – if a woman or dog died while attacking in combat, it is entirely culturally consistent in Nahua (Aztec) culture to afford appropriate honors.

The Nahua of 16th century Mexico could be ruthless and brutal – but they were definitely not hypocrites.

Top image from the Codex Magliabecchi.
Via Phys.Org.

This entry was posted in Culture, History by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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