April 29, 2021

Mesoamerica Heart Extraction Research

Vera Tiesler and Guilhem Olivier have published the results of their Mesoamerica heart extraction in Current Anthropology; “Open Chests and Broken Hearts: Ritual Sequences and Meanings of Human Heart Sacrifice in Mesoamerica.”

They studied anatomical analysis of skeletal evidence and compared it with systematically checked historical sources and over 200 instances of ceremonial heart extraction in codices. They focused on the location of openings created in the chest to allow for the removal of a victim’s heart and blood. They examined the resulting fractures and marks in articulated skeletons to infer about the nature of the entry wound and the potential instrumentation used.

Three distinct heart extraction methods were used;  cutting directly under the ribs (subdiaphragmatic thoracotomy); making an incision between two ribs (intercostal thoracotomy); or by horizontally severing the sternum in order to access the heart (transverse bilateral thoracotomy).

The reason for this practice was as a source of “vitalizing matter,” or food for the gods. Hearts and blood were offered as sustenance to deities representing the sun and the earth in recognition of their sacrifices during the creation of the universe. Data–including linguistic analysis of ancient Mesoamerican terminology–reinforce suggestions that these rites served as acts of obligation, reciprocation, and re-enactment.

News360 has the report here;

February 21, 2021

Giant Aztec Eagle Bas Relief Uncovered in Mexico City

INAH has uncovered a giant bas relief of the Aztec Golden Eagle in downtown Mexico City. The carved slab was part of a floor built during Motecuhzoma Ilhuicamina’s reign 1440 and 1469 CE. The art is part of the Templo Mayor complex, which includes the image of a raptor associated with Huitzilopochtli”s mythical life cycle and Tlaloc representing the water cycle and the regeneration of maize. The floor was progressively created between 1486-1502. Researchers are correlating the floor with Aztec codices. In Codex Borgia, a golden eagle stands on a mesquite, that was believed to grow from a flayed skin deity with knife-like feline feathers that look like human sacrifice knives. The bird of prey is related to war and sacrifice and is the sun’s shapeshifting spirit-related to Huitzilopochtli.

At the site of the Templo Mayor is the legendary place where the Aztecs saw the eagle sitting on a cactus and where they moved to own man island which became their capital, Tenochtitlan. And this Eagle represents that founding story.

INAH will lift the eagle to explore below and then replace it.

INAH has the report here;


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