General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 19 Apr 2021/3 Alligator
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  • We’re still going!
  • coronavirus 2021
  • New in-school workshops
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We’re still going!
We’re taking bookings for the new academic year. BTW, we normally limit travel times to 2 hours’ drive from London.
coronavirus 2021
If you’re unsure of an in-school visit, try videoconferencing with us. Click on the link in the r/h menu...
New in-school workshops
Our latest programme is a hybrid: some participation (chanting, music, role-play), illustrated presentation, viewing of artefacts, Q&A...
Aztec headdresses

If you’re teaching the Aztecs, or the Maya - or both...

... read on! Our core work is Living History team visits (our ‘flagship’ Aztecs/Maya presentations) providing superb curriculum enrichment activities in schools and museums, whether you’re delivering the Aztecs/Mexica or Mayan Civilisation (KS2: World History/Study of a past society/Study of ‘a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history’), The Aztecs and the Spanish Conquest 1519-1535 (GCSE OCR/SHP 2016 syllabus), Chocolate (IPC or Edison Learning units), Hola Mexico (Cornerstones Curriculum) or as part of your school’s Creative Curriculum. But that’s just the start...

A Mexicolore school workshop on the Maya and the Aztecs
Aztecs or Maya? Or both?
We specialise in BOTH! For many years our programmes focussed on 1) Mexico generally, then 2) the Aztecs, then 3) two separate programmes, and now 4) our flagship programme combines BOTH civilisations in one session. Note though that on the day we carefully put extra emphasis on whichever topic you are delivering in your school.

Mexicolore Aztecs workshop
Team visits
Having evolved over almost four decades, our main programme now delivers the Maya and the Aztecs in one VERY full morning. We strongly suggest you write to us for full details of what we cover. We bombard the children with facts and knowledge, but in fun interactive ways.
To read testimonials from teachers and pupils on Mexicolore team visits, follow the link below...) To find a list of all schools we’ve ever worked in (and when), click on ‘Schools that we’ve visited’ (Teacher’s Page, Aztecs section).
Visit Testimonials

Aztec workshop by Mexicolore in the British Museum
Our Mexicolore website
This site is constantly checked, added to, and updated. Based in London, you’ll find links to an exceptional range of formal institutions and informal groups, each with some area of expertise on either the Aztecs/Mexica or the Maya, many of which are perfectly suitable for children to explore. Note that we have our own Aztecs for Kids microsite (click on KIDS at the very top of this page): this is packed not just with activities for children but with very carefully researched - and illustrated - information on the Aztecs. Try it out for yourself!
Feedback from St. Bernadette’s RCP School, Farnborough (2013): ’We love your website - so much information. A great help for busy teachers and useful for the children and their research projects.’
Website feedback

Mexicolore at Glebe Middle School, Sussex
Take advantage...
... of the work others - including many teachers - have put into preparing teaching materials on the Aztecs. Browse through the Resources pages to get some ideas. If you’re daunted by how to pronounce Aztec names and other words, listen to our Pronunciation guide (see ‘Aztec Language’, in the Aztecs section). If you’re looking for images of Mexican masks to kickstart some artwork, go to our Masks photo gallery (go to the Aztecs section, then click on Mexican Masks, right). If you’re interested in reading answers from world experts to some of the questions YOUR children have been asking (on the Maya as well as the Aztecs), explore our unique Ask the Experts pages. And so on...
Our Aztec Resources section

A Mexicolore school workshop on the Maya
Background to the site
This site is aimed primarily at teachers and pupils studying the Aztecs and the Maya in schools in the UK, though it is already proving valuable to academics, cultural institutions, researchers, students and the general public world wide - anyone with some interest in the Aztecs and/or the Maya. All the material has been uploaded in good faith on the understanding that it is used strictly for educational/non-commercial purposes. The site, with some quite personal touches, grows directly from nearly 40 years of visits made to schools and museums throughout England by Graciela and Ian, the founding Mexicolore team. Many thanks to all those teachers and children who continue to make us so welcome in their schools - and who have become good friends. Enjoy...!
Who we are

Comment and feedback request button to the Mexicolore Aztecs website
NOTE on FEEDBACK to the site
We encourage visitors to leave comments, and we normally check all incoming website feedback every day: if anyone should ever leave an inappropriate comment, we endeavour to delete it immediately.

Chocolate and the Aztecs: Mexicolore’s input to the IPC
Chocolate and the IPC
If your school follows the International Primary Curriculum (IPC), all our programmes include plenty of information and artefacts relating to chocolate and its importance in ancient Mexico. We now have a steadily expanding section entirely on the history of chocolate...
Our History of Chocolate section

Maya mask
Maya Civilisation
The Aztecs were the last in a long line of advanced civilisations in Mexico going back several thousand years. They learned much from previous peoples, including the Maya. In our current (2019-20) flagship programme on Ancient Mesoamerica we include plenty of references not only to the Aztecs but also to the Maya, from their calendar systems to their version of the ancient ritual ballgame, from their invention of zero to the chac mool reclining figure that inspired the sculptor Henry Moore, from the Feathered Serpent god to their gourd trumpets...
The Aztecs and the Maya...

Feedback button

Here's what others have said:

Mexicolore replies: Thanks. Providing the usage is educational and non-commercial, feel free to go ahead, within reason. Strictly we should ask you to indicate exactly which images you would like to use - we don’t have the copyright on all of them and so can only really give you permission to reproduce ones we’ve taken ourselves. Please use the email address Good wishes.
Mexicolore replies: Thanks, and good point. Not a great deal! We have a few articles that draw on Olmec roots, eg this on sculpture:; or this on ‘The Jaguar in Mexico’ -
And in our Ritual Ballgame section (under ‘Maya’, above). We’ll try and add more...1
Mexicolore replies: We can’t find details! We do know this is presented in the Museum as being a representation of the goddess Xochiquetzal...
Mexicolore replies: The photo of the stone sunflower sculpture shown in pic 1 on our Sunflower page (Flora & Fauna section) was taken in the Museo Nacional de Antropología (National Anthropology Museum) in Mexico City. Hope that helps...
Mexicolore replies: Muchas gracias por tu interés, Teresa. ¡No tenemos sistema de suscripción a la página! Perdónanos, no estamos tan organizados...
Mexicolore replies: We’ve answered this question, as far as we can, in the ‘Ask Us’ section of the site (see l/h menu).
Mexicolore replies: Most definitely! The symbols attached by a line depict the person’s name. For example, the first Aztec emperor Acamapichtli’s name means ‘Handful of Reeds’ and this symbol - a hand grasping a bundle of reeds - can be seen attached to his head by a black line.
Mexicolore replies: OK, we should be able to help with this one as it’s one of ours. You’ll need to let us know a bit more about your intended use of it. I suggest you email us directly...
Mexicolore replies: Happy to help if we can, though we only own the copyright on some of the images on our website. Please write to us specifying which image(s) you’re interested in and we’ll let you know how to proceed...
Mexicolore replies: We’ve no idea! Probably just like any other ghosts.....
Mexicolore replies: They faced no more ‘health hazards’ than any other people around the globe. Mexico suffers certainly from extremes of climate, so droughts, floods, earthquakes, plagues etc were a constant threat. But don’t be thinking there were heaps of dead bodies and buckets of blood around the place: there wasn’t! That’s a complete myth. On the contrary, by all accounts Tenochtitlan was a super clean city - they had an army of 1,000 people sweeping it clean every day...
Mexicolore replies: Thanks, John. That’s a good idea. We’ll discuss it here as a team...
Mexicolore replies: ¡Adelante, Andrea! Thanks for your kind words. We’d be delighted if you could contribute, in any capacity. Being that far away the best option might be for you to write an article for Mexicolore. When you are a fully qualified archaeologist, and if you go to work in Mexico, then, wow, there will be plenty of new ways to collaborate... We hope to hear back from you!
Mexicolore replies: Yes you can! But this needs to be by prior appointment. The time to avoid visiting is during a school term, as we’re all usually out working in schools. Our address is on our Contact page.
Mexicolore replies: Thank YOU, Louise! (You can read more about this story on our ‘Getting Involved’ page...)
Mexicolore replies: A lovely school to visit, Ewan! Do you remember how we demonstrated the ‘atlatl’ (javelin-thrower) out on the school playground...?!
Mexicolore replies: In principle, yes, Rosa, but I’m afraid it depends which images you want to reproduce! We have the copyright on many, but not all... Please refer to specific pictures and we’ll let you know...
Mexicolore replies: Thanks, Zeki!
Mexicolore replies: Thanks, Marcus! We greatly enjoyed visiting St. Peter’s (March 2012) - a lovely atmosphere in your school...
Mexicolore replies: ¡Muchas gracias, Daniel! Retroalimentación como la tuya nos anima cada vez más para seguir adelante con nuestro compromiso...
Mexicolore replies: • As far as we understand the Aztecs didn’t have a symbol for grandparents; the closest we get to them in Aztec iconography would be the depiction of the elderly in general with wrinkled faces...
• No, Guadalajara wouldn’t have been part of the Aztec empire: the most westerly outpost of the empire - in the direction of Guadalajara - would have been the shores of Lake Cuitzeo, near Morelia. Remember that the Aztecs never conquered the Tarascans, whose lands fell in between the Aztec territories and present-day Guadalajara.
Mexicolore replies: MANY thanks, Michelle, for your help and support!
Mexicolore replies: Thank you for your interest in our work, Nathalia. Sadly at the present time we don’t have a staff member who can translate into Portuguese. Anyone out there willing/able to help Nathalia’s research on the Aztecs, but in Portuguese...?
Mexicolore replies: By all means. We will do our best to help. (Please note, generally, that most of these artefact-based queries we post on the ‘Can You Help?’ pages of the site).
Mexicolore replies: if you mean twins, triplets, etc. then yes, though these wouldn’t have been as common as today. In fact twins were thought to be particularly precious and ‘special’ in Aztec times.
Mexicolore replies: We think it was Yaotl (warrior) for a boy and Teyacapan (‘First-born’) for a girl; but remember that ‘official’ names were based on the calendar (the day you were born on) and of course these were evenly distributed throughout the year, so we can only talk about most popular nicknames rather than names in Aztec times.
Mexicolore replies: That makes two of us...!!! (Sorry, everyone else - just two of the Mexicolore team showing our feelings!)
Mexicolore replies: ¡Nos encantaría estar con Uds! Muchos saludos desde Londres - congelado de nieve y hielo...
Mexicolore replies: Many! The museum of the Templo Mayor (main Aztec temple) in Mexico City is full of sacrifice flints/obsidian blades, and they’re finding new ones all the time. Many ‘ofrendas’ (ritual offerings) include knives, as indications that the individuals themselves had been sacrificed to the gods. But many others are found with faces depicted on them: these represent the calendar/day sign ‘Tecpatl’, which is no. 18 in the calendar cycle of 20 signs. And yet others are undecorated and represent the black, dry, cold northern region of the universe, ravaged by fierce winds, ruled by the god Black Tezcatlipoca, one of whose characteristics was an obsidian blade symbolizing black wind.
Mexicolore replies: It was a sacred and ritual game that to a large extent represented the forces of the universe: the ball itself represented the movement of the Sun during the day in the sky. You can learn more about the meaning of the game in our ‘Aztefacts’ section - the article called ‘Oh balls!’
Mexicolore replies: After the heart was removed and burnt in the sacred bowl (the smoke would carry the heart’s ‘fuel’ up to the Sun God), the rest of the body was disposed of - not by being thrown away as rubbish, but by being thrown down the temple steps and then ceremoniously cut up and distributed, though not just to anyone - usually to the family of the warrior who had captured the victim (in battle) in the first place.
Mexicolore replies: There are two points here: the Aztecs would name a child ‘officially’ in the days following his/her birth, according to the sacred calendar (by consulting a soothsayer trained to read and interpret the day signs), but they would also (later) give the child a nickname, often linked to their features, looks or personality. You can see some examples of these on our website - go to the ‘Aztec Life’ section and click on ‘Tiger Top’.
Mexicolore replies: The game is still played, though nothing like on the scale in ancient times. Where it’s still played, it’s often just for tourists - very much like the ‘Voladores’ pole-flying ceremony from Papantla. There are a few regional variations, and one researcher (Professor Manuel Aguilar-Moreno) has studied a version that’s still played today at night (and they set fire to the ball!) - in olden days this would have represented the belief in the night-time Sun God who descends every day to illuminate the world of spirits in the underworld before being born again the next morning.

We’d be very surprised if the temple-pyramids didn’t have guards in ancient times, though we can’t think of a source of evidence for this right now...
Mexicolore replies: Thanks for your comments, Jose Luis. To be really honest, we feel life is too short to be too ‘hung up’ about whether we should talk about ‘gods’ or ‘representations of the forces of nature’. Human beings have surely got into enough trouble as it is over the centuries for inventing and arguing over God and gods...
Mexicolore replies: Gracias Francisco; estamos totalmente de acuerdo. Vamos a hacer todo lo posible para preparar cada vez más páginas en español, empezando (abril de 2009) con un artículo acerca de las enfermedades mentales prehispánicas por Patricia Landa Durán...