Aztec Skulls Unearthed in Mexico City Temple

AP Photo

Fifty skulls were unearthed in a Mexico City Aztec temple, in what could be the largest collection of pre-Colombian skulls ever found in one sacred temple, reports Fox News Latino.

The finding reveals new ways that the pre-Colombian civilization used skulls in their rituals at Mexico City's Templo Mayor, according to experts. The most important Aztec ceremonies took place their between 1325 until the Spanish conquest in 1521. The skulls were found at one sacrificial stone. Five were buried under that stone, and each had holes on both sides, with experts determining that they were hung on a skull rack. 

Archaeologist Raul Barrera of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History said the other 45 skulls were just placed (or dumped) on top of the stone. 

"Underneath the sacrificial stone, we found an offering of five skulls. These skulls were pierced with a stick," he said. "These are very important findings."

While providing information on the use (and reuse) of skulls for ritual events, it also serves to go against the common notion of Aztec sacrifices as having to do only with the chest and heart. 

"We normally associate [Aztec sacrifices] with heart removal rather than decapitation," Susan Gillespie, a University of Florida archeologist who was not involved in the dig, told Fox News Latino. "It ultimately gives us a better understanding of how the Aztecs used the human body in various ways in their ritual practices."

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