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Offerings of anthropomorphic figurines found at Aztec Templo Mayor



Archaeologists from the Templo Mayor project and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have found anthropomorphic figurines placed as an offering at Templo Mayor in Mexico City.

Templo Mayor was the heart of a temple complex in Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec Empire. The temple was called the huey teocalli in the Nahuatl language and was dedicated to Huitzilopochtli, the god of war, and Tlaloc, god of rain and agriculture.

Construction of the temple began sometime after AD 1325, but was destroyed by the Spanish in AD 1521 following the conquest of Tenochtitlan. The present-day archaeological site lies to the northeast of the Zocalo, or main plaza of Mexico City, on the corner of what is now the streets of Seminario and Justo Sierra.

Archaeologist excavating at Templo Mayor have found a stone chest known as tepetlacalli in Nahuatl, containing 15 anthropomorphic figurines and numerous green stone beads, snails, shells and marine corals.

Image Credit : Antonio Marín Calvo

The figurines are in the Mezcala style, a Mesoamerican culture that emerged in the Middle and Late Preclassic within Mesoamerican chronology (700 to 200 BC). Archaeologists speculate that the Aztecs valued Mezcala objects and excavated them from Mezcala sites in the Guerrero state of southwestern Mexico to be placed as ritual offerings.

“The figurines were already true relics, some of them more than 1,000 years old, and presumably they served as cult effigies,” says archaeologist López Luján.

The stone chest was found in a context of stage IVa of the Templo Mayor, which dates from the rule of Moctezuma Ilhuicamina between AD 1440 and 1469. In addition to the figurines, the chest contains 186 objects placed as offerings, such as rattlesnake-shaped earrings, 137 beads made from various green stones, and 1,942 objects made from shells, snails, and corals.


Header Image Credit : Antonio Marín Calvo

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Early medieval carved stone of a warrior figure found in Glasgow




Archaeologists excavating the grounds of Govan Old Church in Glasgow, England, have discovered an early medieval carved stone figure dubbed the “Govan Warrior”.

Govan Old Church is the home of the Govan Stone Museum, a collection of early medieval and Viking-Age sculptures found in the grounds, including 30 sculptures from a lost kingdom of Old Welsh-speaking Britons known as the Ystrad Clud who dominated the Clyde valley from the 5th to 11th centuries AD.

Excavations have been conducted by the University of Glasgow and Clyde Archaeology, in which a carved stone of a warrior was uncovered during a community fun day organised as part of the Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival.

The carved stone depicts a man standing side on and carrying a round shield and a shaft. According to the researchers, the discovery dates from around 1,000-years-ago and is unlike any of the other carved stones found at Govan Old.

According to a press statement by the University of Glasgow: “The Govan Warrior is unique within the existing collection due to its stylistic characteristics, which has drawn parallels with Pictish art and carvings from the Isle of Man. Unlike the other stones in the Govan collection, whose chunky style of carving is so distinctive that it has been described as a school of carving in its own right (the ‘Govan School’), the Govan Warrior is lightly incised, which may bring parallels with famous Pictish stones like the Rhynie Man from Aberdeenshire.”

Professor Stephen Driscoll said: “It’s a style that makes us think both about the Pictish world and also about the Isle of Man and it’s interesting that we are halfway between these two places. Govan is the ideal place for these two artistic traditions or styles to come together.”

University of Glasgow

Header Image Credit : Govan Heritage Trust

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Iron Age port discovered on Baltic Sea island of Gotska Sandön




An excavation project, in collaboration with archaeologists from Södertörn University, Uppsala University’s Campus Gotland, Gotland Museum, and the Swedish National Heritage Board, has led to the discovery of an Iron Age port on Gotska Sandön.

Gotska Sandön is an island and national park in Sweden’s Gotland County, situated 24 miles north of Faro in the Baltic Sea.

Earlier in 2023, archaeologists found two 2,000-year-old Roman coins on one of the island’s beaches. Both coins are made of silver, with one coin dating from AD 98-117 during the reign of Emperor Trajan, and the other coin dating from AD 138-161 during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius

In the latest excavations, archaeologists have now discovered evidence of twenty hearths on the same beach as the Roman coins discovery.

According to Johan Rönnby, a professor of marine archaeology at Södertörn University, the site is an Iron Age port, not in the sense of quays we imply in the modern era, but instead a place where Iron Age people regularly landed their boats and formed an encampment.

Although the purpose of the encampment is speculated, the researchers suggest that it may have been linked to an emerging seal hunting industry.

“Seal hunters may have come from the island of Gotland and landed on Sandön to boil seal blubber. This could have been what the hearths were used for, but we don’t yet know – there may be other reasons why the site looks like it does, such as it being a trading post,” said Rönnby.

Excavations and carbon-14 dating of one of the hearths has indicated that they also date from 2,000-years-ago, suggesting a possible link between the encampment and the Roman coins.


Header Image Credit : idw

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