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Wooden scepters in the offerings of Tenochtitlan’s Great Temple: A symbolic interpretation

Author(s): Margarita Mancilla Medina ; Mirsa Alejandra Islas Orozco ; Laura Angélica Ortíz Tenorio

Year: 2015

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The excavation of the Great Temple, one of the most important precincts in Mexica society, began more than thirty years ago. Since then, the examination of thousands of artifacts and organic materials has greatly increased our knowledge about Mexica cosmovision. During its seventh field season, the Templo Mayor Project has excavated thirty-six offerings. The flooded context of these oblatory deposits enabled the conservation of various organic materials that commonly degrade with the passage of time, especially wood. In the last seven years, more than a thousand wooden artifacts have been discovered: among them, we can mention numerous scepters. Most of these artifacts were found intact with remnants of their original polychromy, thus allowing an interpretation of their symbolism and the identification of nine different types of scepters: deer head, Techalotl’s, Mictlaltecuhtli’s or closed fist, chicahuaztli (sun ray), ehecahuictli (curved), serpentiform, xiuhcoatl (fire serpent), double volute, and tahuitimetl.

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Wooden scepters in the offerings of Tenochtitlan’s Great Temple: A symbolic interpretation. Margarita Mancilla Medina, Laura Angélica Ortíz Tenorio, Mirsa Alejandra Islas Orozco. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396546)


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Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America