Ancient Wind God Temple Found Under Mexico City Supermarket

The temple, 36 feet across, falls within what is believed to be the perimeter of a large ceremonial site in the Tlatelolco neighborhood.

Archaeologists excavating the site of a demolished supermarket in Mexico City have unearthed a circular temple built more than 650 years ago for an Aztec deity.

The platform, about 36 feet in diameter and four feet tall, was part of the sacred area of the city-state Tlatelolco and was likely dedicated to the god of wind Ehecatl-Quetzalcoatl. It now stands just yards away from the site of the Tlatelolco 1968 massacre, where Mexican soldiers killed protesting students.

The 10-foot deep excavation began two years ago when an old supermarket at the site was demolished. The work first revealed the upper part of the structure, along with pottery shards and 20 burials, which included adults, children and animals.

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In March of this year, archaeologists led by Edwina Villegas Gómez, director of the archaeological area of Tlatelolco, brought to light the circular platform with its original white stucco still intact.

At the eastern entrance of the temple, they found a small, stone coffin-like box. Offerings inside included the remains of a newborn child with no signs of trauma, cactus thorns, bird bones, incense burners and pieces of obsidian and pottery depicting monkeys and duck bills.

In early October, the skull of an adult male was also found. Next to it, there was a ring which was worn by the individual.

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According to INAH, Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, burials around the temple contained eight complete skeletons (six infants, an adult female and an adult male), as well as other incomplete human remains.

The finding offers another example on how the Mexica-Tlatelolca people worshiped their deities, and adds a new piece to the great puzzle of Tlatelolco's ceremonial center, which is now mostly covered by urban developments.

Preservationists plan to build a protective wall around the site, including a large viewing window and ramp to make it visible to the public.

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