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Discovery of Hundreds of Human Skulls Reveals Truth about Aztec Culture

Archeologists dig deeper into the discovery of a massive tower of skulls from ancient Aztec culture. Their findings revealed more about the practice of human sacrifice during that time period. Why did the Aztecs perform such a brutal act? Who did they sacrifice? What happens after? All of your questions are answered here!

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Did You Say a Basketball Court of Skulls?!

You read that right. An eerie discovery in Mexico City shed some light about human sacrifices in ancient Aztec life. Archeologists found hundreds of skulls buried underneath Mexico City.

In 2015 archeologists found the remains of tzompantli. Tzompantli was a massive tower of skulls from victims to the human sacrifices that used to take place in the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlán. Tzompantli was about the size of a basketball court if that helps you picture how big this tower of skulls was.

In ancient times, the Aztecs would take victims to the city’s Templo Mayor or Great Temple. There the priests would slice into the very much alive person and take out their beating heart. The body was then decapitated, skull cleaned, and finally added to the tower. Pretty gruesome to think about.

Before it’s discovery, historians didn’t believe the tower existed despite the written records from Spanish conquistadors. When the tower was finally found there were about 700 skulls and thousands of smaller fragments.

Why Why Why

If you’re wondering why the heck the Aztecs did this, the answer is to please the gods. They believed that human sacrifices would feed the gods and protect their future. Other cultures in Asia and Europe also practiced human sacrifice but the Aztecs definitely took it too an extreme and got a little carried away.

They didn’t do it out of malicious intent. The Aztecs believed that those who were sacrificed were given a special place in the afterlife for doing a “good deed”.

The cleaned skulls all had holes drilled into them so that they could be racked on a pole and displayed. Now, Archeologists are studying the skulls in detail to try and figure out more about ancient Aztec life.

Who Were the Unlucky People Getting Sacrificed?

If you’re thinking that by being an Aztec would keep you safe from being sacrificed, you’re wrong. While most of the victims were prisoners of war, some slaves were bought for the sole purpose of being sacrificed. The citizens of the empire were also instructed to send tributes in order to keep the rest of the population in check.

Also, if you’re thinking that being a woman or child would exempt you from being killed, you’re wrong. Researchers who examined the skulls said most of the skulls were males but women and children remains were also found. The males were all in their 20s and 30s which made them the prime warrior age.

While we would never consider bringing human sacrificing back, the Aztecs did it as a way to reinforce the hierarchy and establish a name for themselves. Considering that the first thing we associate with human sacrificing is the Aztecs, I would say they got what they wanted in the most disturbing of ways.