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Aztec carvings uncovered in Mexico City temple

15 february 2012, 16:27
©REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar
©REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar
Mexican archeologists on Tuesday announced the discovery of 23 stone plaques with carved images inside the main temple of what was once the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, in downtown Mexico City, AFP reports.

The carved images of serpents and warriors tell stories that include the birth of the Aztec warrior god Huitzilopochtli, the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said.

The tiles were likely carved when the main temple was built between 1440 and 1469, said archeologist Raul Barrera.

It is the first time that archeologists discover stone carvings set up explicitly to narrate an Aztec myth within the ancient city's most sacred temple, the statement read.

The tiles on average measure 50 centimeters by 40 centimeters (19 by 16 inches).

Archeologists discovered the carvings in late 2011 near a circular platform decorated with serpent heads that was discovered in September 2011, the INAH said.

Experts are still trying to determine if markings that appear on some of the carvings refer to dates on the Aztec calendar, said archeologist Lorena Vazquez.

Tenochtitlan, founded around 1325, was built on an island in a shallow lake.

Spanish conquistadors stormed Tenochtitlan with their native allies in 1521, leveled the city, then built what is now Mexico City on top of it.

The remains of the main temple were discovered in mid 20th century, but a full excavation did not get under way until the 1980s.

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