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Animal captivity in Tenochtitlan’s sacred precinct: Specialized diet and paleopathological analysis of golden eagles found in Offering 125

Author(s): Israel Elizalde Mendez ; Ximena Chávez Balderas ; Salvador Figueroa Morales

Year: 2015

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Summary

After the discovery of the Tlaltecuhtli (earth goddess) monolith, the Templo Mayor Project explored an area known as the Mayorazgo de Nava Chávez, located at the foot of the Great Temple. Offering 125 was discovered west of the monolith and was deposited during the reign of Ahuitzotl (1486–1502 CE). Along with thousands of ritual items, two golden eagle skeletons were buried in this deposit. Commingled bones corresponding to at least three quail were found inside the keel of one of the eagles. Considering patterns of perimortem fractures and spatial distribution, we propose that these remains were not deposited intentionally as part of the ritual. By analyzing archaeological materials, sixteenth-century historical sources, and contemporary reference collections, we conclude that the quail bones correspond to a specialized diet provided to both eagles. In addition, paleopathological analysis of antemortem fractures support the hypothesis that both eagles were captives, confirming the existence of complex management strategies described in the historical sources. With this analysis we will address animal-human relationships, captivity strategies, and the ritual importance of animals.

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Animal captivity in Tenochtitlan’s sacred precinct: Specialized diet and paleopathological analysis of golden eagles found in Offering 125. Israel Elizalde Mendez, Salvador Figueroa Morales, Ximena Chávez Balderas. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396550)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Mesoamerica


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