Templo Mayor’s Gold


Mexico is a not a country rich in native gold deposits, especially compared to Colombia, Peru, or Bolivia. This would explain why the precious metal was always used rather sparingly in Mesoamerican civilizations. A good example is Tenochtitlan (1325–1521 AD): after thirty-seven years of archaeological exploration in the city’s sacred precinct, the Templo Mayor Project (1978-2015) has recovered only a meager set of gold artifacts, in contrast to the tens of thousands of metamorphic greenstone, copper, flint, travertine, obsidian, and ceramic objects contained in the same offerings. This paper will analyze the entire collection of gold pieces from the Templo Mayor Project in light of various historical, archaeological, and chemical data, and offer new insights about the chronology, typology, function, meaning, manufacturing tradition, and "geographical area of use" of gold in Late Postclassic Central Mexico.

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Cite this Record

Templo Mayor’s Gold. Leonardo López Luján, José Luis Ruvalcaba Sil. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395705)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;