Starfish in the offerings of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan


Recent excavations carried out by the Templo Mayor Project in Tenochtitlan’s sacred precinct uncovered a significant number of calcium carbonate plates, which, in spite of their advanced degree of deterioration, can be identified as consisting of the endoskeletons of sea stars. These organisms belong to the Asteroidea (from the Greek aster: "star" and eidos: "in the shape of") class, most of which exhibit radial symmetry and have thin, discernibly pentagonal bodies. Sea stars inhabit marine environments in nearly all longitudes and latitudes. Among the excavated plates, five species have been identified thus far: Astropecten duplicatus from the Atlantic, and Pentaceraster cumingi, Nidorelia armata, Luidia cf. superba, and Astropecten regalis from the Pacific. These remains were found in seven caches (Offerings 124, 126, 136, 137, 141, 163, and 166) deposited in the Templo Mayor, all of them corresponding to Phase VI (1486–1502 CE).

Cite this Record

Starfish in the offerings of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan. Leonardo López Luján, Belem Zúñiga Arellano, Francisco Solís Marín, Carolina Martín Cao Romero, Andrea Alejandra Caballero Ochoa. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429848)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 12161