A news conference that was held at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico City illustrated a major finding by Eduardo Matos Moctezuma who is an archeologist at the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico. He showcased a drawing of the skull rack as discovered by him in the Templo Mayor Aztec complex.
The discovery was a ceremonial rack of skulls that hail from the days of the Aztec empire that lay in the heart of Mexico City. This finding throws light on the way rulers projected their power by committing human sacrifice. The skull rack is called tzompantli, as per the Aztec language called Nahuatl. The craniums of warriors of rival empires and kingdoms were bleached and displayed on top of the towering temples. The killings were probably done by the priests of the temples.
The findings have been dug up behind the cathedral of the capital, which dates back to the colonial era. The skull rack that has been partially uncovered was probably built around 1485 or 1502. The rack was about 112 feet or 34meters in length and was 40 feet or 12 meters in width. The skulls were in a hundred that were arranged on the racks and this was done in order to inspire awe and fear among people. The archaeologists are hopeful that they will discover to whom the skulls belonged to. It is clear that the enemies were captured and sacrificed as well as decapitated in order to be displayed on the rack.
Eduardo Matos suggested that the skull rack finding is a show of might of the kings of the Aztecs. They invited their friends as well as enemies to view the heads on the rack which would be at different levels of decomposition. There are descriptions and paintings of the pre colonial era that describe the existence of such racks. However, the new discovery has a distinct different pattern in the way the heads were arranged in a circle with an empty space that existed in the middle. The experts are trying to figure out what was in the center and what the arrangement referred to.
The skulls are found in a mortared condition which is described in many historic journals which is characteristic of a conquest having been successful. The archeologists expect the number to go up as they dig further. However, as the findings are near a colonial era house which has historic importance, the excavation is being done in a manner that will not weaken the foundation of the existing building.