Archaeology news: Golden eagle carved into volcanic rock discovered in Aztec temple

Mexico: Expert on how ‘most important’ Aztec temple was found

Researchers looking into the Templo Mayor, or the Great Temple in English, found a carving of a golden eagle. The grand temple is in Mexico City and has offered up a trove of treasures to researchers. An excavation from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) revealed the carving of the golden eagle.

The bird was carved into volcanic rock and measures 41.7 by 27.6 inches.

In Aztec lore, the golden eagle symbolises bravery and is considered a warrior.

Mexican Cultural Minister Alejandra Frausto Guerrero said: “For what we have seen in pictures, it is a beautifully made piece that shows the great mysteries that former Mexico Tenochtitlan’s Templo Mayor still has to reveal.

“I would like to acknowledge the INAH archaeologists who collaborate in this site.

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“It is because of their effort and dedication that we can continue to recover our history and our memory of the past.

“Fieldwork has been postponed due to the health emergency, but it is clear that there is a thriving research and an academic reflection that has not been stopped.”

The carving was one of 67 discovered on the south side of the temple, according to local media outlet El Comentario.

Etchings in the south side of the temple are believed to be dedicated to the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli.

The Aztec believed Huitzilopochtli directed the people to establish the Templo Mayor at the site after they saw an eagle feasting on a snake.

INAH said in a statement: “According to scholars, the carving’s relevance is evident not only for its size and decoration, but for its location at the base of the most important building in the Aztec world.

“It was uncovered at the central axis that traverses the ‘chapel’ of Huitzilopochtli and the monumental sculpture of goddess Coyolxauhqui.

“The piece is also close to the Cuauhxicalco, a circular structure whose name means ‘Place of the Eagle’s Cup’ and where 16th century documents indicate that Aztec rulers were cremated.”

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The Aztec empire reached its peak between 1345 and 1521, until the Spanish invaded.

The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was a huge event in their colonisation of the Americas, led by Hernan Cortes.

He did so by forming alliances with various indigenous groups, turning groups against each other.

Cortes and his fleet are estimated to have killed around 100,000 indigenous people during his conquests.

King Charles I of Spain, however, appointed him the governor of New Spain shortly afterwards in 1522.

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