A tower of more than 650 skulls, many of which are of women and children, were discovered by archaeologists near the site of Templo Mayor, an Aztec temple which is now Mexico City, according to Reuters. The horrid shrine may prove to contain even more remnants; the excavation continues.
What they found has shocked them, because in among the skulls of the young men are those of women and children - bringing into question everything historians thought they knew.
Said to be the heads of defeated warriors, contemporary accounts describe tens of thousands of skulls looming over the soldiers - a reminder of what would happen if they did not conquer territory.
There was no doubt that the tower was one of the skull edifices mentioned by Andres de Tapia, a Spanish soldier who accompanied conqueror Hernan Cortes in the 1521 conquest of Mexico, Barrera said.
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"We were expecting just men, obviously young men, as warriors would be, and the thing about the women and children is that you'd think they wouldn't be going to war", said Rodrigo Bolanos, a biological anthropologist investigating the find.
"Something is happening that we have no record of, and this is really new, a first in the Huey Tzompantli". However, current archeological excavations in the bowels of the old Mexico city, starting in 2015, the year showed that the picture was incomplete, and there is another skull.
Raul Barrera, one of the archaeologists working at the site alongside the huge Metropolitan Cathedral built over the Templo Mayor, said the skulls would have been set in the tower after they had stood on public display on the tzompantli.
The tower is six meters, or almost 20 feet, in diameter, and is positioned near the chapel of Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of the sun. Ritual worship of the deity often involved human sacrifice.
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