General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 19 Nov 2019/6 Lizard
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Dr. John F. Schwaller

Question for February 2010

Why did the Aztecs only use wheels for toys and not for transport? Asked by Kettlefields CP School. Chosen and answered by Dr. John F. Schwaller.

Not a wheel in sight around Lake Texcoco...
Not a wheel in sight around Lake Texcoco... (Click on image to enlarge)

We know that the Aztecs were aware of wheels, since we see them on some of the toys that they had for their children, but they do not seem to have applied this principle to anything else. While this seems odd, let’s remember where they lived. The heart of Aztec territory was on an island in the middle of a lake surrounded by very high mountains in Mexico. Wheels are good if you live somewhere fairly flat and need to move things over moderate distances. Aztecs could move food and supplies in and out of their city by boat far easier than a wheeled vehicle would allow them. If they needed to move things any great distance, they could not use wheels because they lived in a very mountainous region. It was far easier and quicker to simply carry it. We do believe that they may have used logs as rollers to move very large stones when they constructed their pyramids.

by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore

Just ‘toying’ with wheels?

Dr. John F. Schwaller has answered 7 questions altogether:

Why did the Aztecs only use wheels for toys and not for transport?

Do we only get food words or are there other English words derived from the Aztec language?

How many words were there in the Aztec language?

Why didn’t the Aztecs ask their gods to save them?

Is Náhuatl taught in Mexican schools today?

Why is the emperor called Montezuma [in England] and not Moctezuma?

Did the Aztecs say a prayer before eating?

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