Henry Romero/Reuters

An ongoing excavation in the heart of Mexico City, once the great Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, has revealed a legendary tower inlaid with hundreds of skulls. This tower was first described by Europeans in the early 16th century, when a Spanish soldier named Andres de Tapia came to the city with Hernan Cortez’ invading force. In his memoirs, de Tapia described an “ediface” covered in tens of thousands of skulls. Now his account is corroborated by this historic find.

Aztec tower of skulls turns out to be no mythA tzompantli, illustrated in the 16th-century Aztec manuscript, the Durán Codex. (credit: Wikimedia)

According to a report from Reuters, the tower is 6 meters in diameter, and once stood at the corner of a massive temple to Huitzilopochtli, an Aztec god associated with human sacrifice, war, and the sun. It’s likely the tower was part of a structure known as the Huey Tzompantli, which many of de Tapia’s contemporaries also described.
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