When Archaeologists Unearthed This Aztec Temple, They Discovered Something Truly Horrifying

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Image: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images
Image: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

What archaeologists had discovered were, in fact, the remains of an Aztec temple and ball court. The locations would have been used for both religious ceremonies and sporting events, and the temple itself still retains its semi-circular form. Originally some 110 feet across and 13 feet high, the impressive religious structure was built from around 1485 to 1580 during the pre-colonial era.

Image: Brooklyn Museum
Image: Brooklyn Museum

The temple and ball court specifically honored the Aztec god of the wind, Ehecatl. Indeed, this is confirmed by records written by the earliest Spanish visitors to Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire. Those accounts also show that in 1528 the future conqueror of the Aztecs, Hernan Cortes, watched a ball game at the site as a guest of Montezuma, the last Aztec emperor.

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Image: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images
Image: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

As the god of wind, Ehecatl was very highly valued by the Aztecs. This is because the people believed that the wind brought them rain to nourish their crops. Archaeologist Eduardo Matos also told Reuters that the temple was probably constructed in the shape of a snake. It would, furthermore, have likely included a dramatic entrance built to resemble the snake’s nose.

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