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Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan re-created in 3D

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An artistic project by Thomas Kole, a Dutch born Technical Artist, has published a detailed recreation of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.

The project, called “A portrait of Tenochtitlan, a 3D reconstruction of the capital of the Aztec Empire”, is the result of 1.5 years of study, in which a team of specialists have used open-source software such as Blender, Gimp, and Darktable, to bring Tenochtitlan back to life how it looked in AD 1518.

“Not much is left of the old Aztec – or Mexica – capital Tenochtitlan. What did this city, raised from the lake bed by hand look like? Using historical and archaeological sources, and the expertise of many, I have tried to faithfully bring this iconic city to life,” said Kole.

Tenochtitlan was situated on a raised islet in the western side of Lake Texcoco, which is now the historic part of present-day Mexico City.

Image Credit : Thomas Kole – CC BY 4.0

The altepetl (city) was founded by the Mexica, a Nahuatl-speaking indigenous people of the Valley of Mexico, who entered the Basin of Mexico after the decline of the Toltec civilisation. The Mexica transformed the islet using the chinampa system, creating rectangular areas of fertile arable land to grow crops on the shallow lake beds.

The settlement experienced rapid growth, evolving into a formidable city-state and becoming an integral part of the Triple Alliance alongside Texcoco and Tlacopan.

Over time, Tenochtitlan asserted its dominance, effectively becoming the rulers of the alliance. They expanded their influence by conquering neighbouring city-states, and establishing an empire largely sustained by an imperial tribute system.

Image Credit : Thomas Kole – CC BY 4.0

Tenochtitlan was meticulously planned with a symmetrical layout, encompassing four distinct zones that covered an expanse of 3,212 acres. Each zone was subdivided into 20 calpulli (districts), interconnected by a network of tlaxilcalli (streets) leading to extensive causeways connecting to the mainland.

Within each calpulli, a central tiyanquiztli (marketplace) was situated, accompanied by various residences and workshops for artisans such as weavers, sculptors, and potters. At the centre was a large ceremonial complex containing public buildings, temples, and palaces.

“Large buildings stand out against the single-story houses, from the massive twin-temple pyramids in the centre, to the smaller temples and shrines in neighborhood community centres. The Sacred Precinct, with the Templo Mayor, forms the epicenter of the city. Next to it is the palace of Emperor Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin, among various other temples, schools, gardens, and a zoo,” said Kole.

Image Credit : Thomas Kole – CC BY 4.0

Upon the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the year 1519, Tenochtitlan had reached its zenith, boasting an estimated population ranging from 200,000 to 400,000 residents.

The inhabitants were swiftly exposed to diseases for which they had no natural immunity. This devastating outbreak led to a significant population decline, with estimates indicating that over 50% of the region’s people fell victim to smallpox.

The Spanish conquistadors, supported by a coalition of indigenous tribes and formerly tribute-paying city-states, besieged Tenochtitlan for a period of 93 days. Ultimately, on August 13, AD 1521, the Mexica surrendered, heralding the onset of Spanish dominance in central Mexico.

Visit “A portrait of Tenochtitlan” by Clicking Here

Header Image Credit : Thomas Kole – CC BY 4.0

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Archaeology

Giant catapult shots discovered from siege of Kenilworth Castle

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Archaeologists have uncovered eight 13th century catapult shots from the 1266 siege of Kenilworth Castle.

Kenilworth Castle, located in the town of Kenilworth in Warwickshire, England, is both a semi-royal palace and historic fortress.

Founded in the 1120s, the castle was the scene of the removal of Edward II from the English throne and the Earl of Leicester’s reception of Elizabeth I in 1575.

During the First Civil War (1642 to 1646), Kenilworth formed a useful counterbalance to the Parliamentary stronghold of Warwick. Following the defeat of royalist forces, Parliament ordered the slighting of Kenilworth 1649, leaving the castle a romantic ruin and popular tourist attraction over the centuries.

Recent works to improve a pathway on castle grounds has led to the discovery of eight giant catapult shots. According to the archaeologists, the shots date from the Siege of Kenilworth (1266), a six-month siege of the castle during the Second Barons’ War.

The conflict was between a number of barons led by Simon de Montfort (who had custody of Kenilworth Castle) against the royalist forces of King Henry III, and later his son, the future King Edward I.

Image Credit : English Heritage

According to historical accounts, the siege was the largest to occur in Medieval England and involved numerous “turres ligneas” (wooden towers), trebuchets, and catapults which fired the giant shots.

The shots are of varying sizes, with the largest weighing 105 kg and the smallest just 1 kg. “’These would have caused some serious damage when fired from war machines. Records show that one of Henry III’s wooden siege towers, containing around 200 crossbowmen, was destroyed by just one well-aimed missile,” said Will Wyeth, English Heritage’s Properties Historian.

Header Image Credit : English Heritage

Sources : English Heritage

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Archaeology

Sappers clear over 4,700 dangerous objects from WWII

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A team of sappers under archaeological supervision have cleared over 4,700 dangerous objects from WWII on the Westerplatte Peninsula in Gdańsk, Poland.

Situated at the mouth of the Dead Vistula on the Baltic Sea coast, the peninsula was the site of the Battle of Westerplatte, one of the initial clashes between Polish and German forces during the invasion of Poland in WWII.

The Polish garrison held out for seven days, repelling thirteen German assaults. The battle became a symbol of Polish resistance, tying up substantial German forces at Westerplatte and preventing over 3,000 German soldiers from providing fire support in the nearby battles of Hel and Gdynia.

Image Credit : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk led the clearing of the Westerplatte area, working in conjunction with soldiers from the 43rd Naval Sapper Battalion, the Engineer Battalion Sapper Company from the 2nd Sapper Regiment from Kazuń Nowy, and a team of archaeologists to supervise and document any archaeological material.

The clearance works have uncovered over 4,700 dangerous objects in the duration of the project along with 180 historical artefacts.

“To date, specialists have penetrated an area of ​​over 13.5 hectares, resulting in the discovery of over 4,700 dangerous objects, including 3 air bombs, one of which weighing 500 kg was located only 30 cm below the ground surface ” – said the head of the Archaeological Department of the Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk, Filip Kuczma.

Some of these objects include almost 200 artillery shells, mortar and hand grenades, and small arms ammunition. Other WWII objects include elements from the soldier’s uniforms, lead seals, and parts of the railway infrastructure in Westerplatte.

The team also uncovered cannonballs, musket shells, coins, decorative stove tiles, and ceramics from the time of the War of the Polish succession (1733 to 1738) and the Napoleonic period (1799 to 1815).

Header Image Credit : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

Sources : The Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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