General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 22 Nov 2017/7 Movement
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Stone altar of skulls

Aztec stone altar of skulls

Stone altar of skulls, Mexica (1325-1521 CE), stone, length 1.9 metres, National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

This monument consists of a large stone platform, the sides of which are decorated in their entirety with cross-bones and skulls. Inside, archaeologists found various examples of stone ‘bundles of reeds’ - xiuhmolpilli - representing cycles of 52 years. These would have been buried as part of the end-of-cycle ritual, when the Aztec New Fire Ceremony would have heralded a new 52-year ‘century’.

Photo by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore.

Learn more about the ‘xiuhmolpilli’...