Temple of the Skulls is first found dedicated to Mexican god of death, Mictlantecuhtli

Source: News.com.au

Temple of the Skulls

The Temple of the Skulls, under excavation in the Tehuacan, Puebla, archaeological site of Mexico. Picture: Instituto Nacional de Antropologa e Historia Source: Supplied

One of the ceramic figurines found in the Temple of Skulls. Photo INAH. Source: Supplied

THE skulls should have been a dead giveaway. A recently uncovered temple in Mexico is the first found dedicated to the ancient god of death Mictlantecuhtli

Aptly named Temple of the Skulls, it was the presence of two niches containing human heads that gave archaeologists the first clue the new discovery from the 14th Century AD was something special.

Set into the west and north walls, each niche also held four femurs stuccoed to the walls around the skulls.

Temple of the Skulls

One of the ceramic figurines found in the Temple of Skulls. Photo INAH. Source: Supplied

But it was the red paint that was a giveaway: The position around the mouth resembled images of the god Mictlantecuhtli as found in one of the Codex Borgia  one of the few remaining texts to survive from the pre-Columbus Central American civilisation.

Temple of the Skulls

One of the skulls set among femur bones in the walls of the Temple of the Skulls, under excavation in the Tehuacan, Puebla, archaeological site of Mexico. Picture: Instituto Nacional de Antropologa e Historia Source: Supplied

Two ceramic heads and an effigy of the god itself were found on top of the temple mound  along with more than 300 bones. These were the remains of human sacrifices.

The archaeological dig at the Tehuacan, Puebla, site continues. Only 10 per cent of the 116ha city has been uncovered so far.

Temple of the Skulls

Archaeologist Ramon Lopez Valenzuela, in the Temple of Skulls. Photo INAH. Source: Supplied

The city was conquered by the Aztecs in 1456, after which the population moved into the surrounding hills and lowlands.

Meanwhile, a monumental stone sculpture to the goddess Citlalicue – a creator goddess whose name means skirt of the stars – also has been uncovered at the foot of another nearby temple, the Templo Mayor.

Temple of the Skulls

One of the skulls set among femur bones in the walls of the Temple of the Skulls, under excavation in the Tehuacan, Puebla, archaeological site of Mexico. Picture: Instituto Nacional de Antropologa e Historia Source: Supplied

Codex

Page 56 of the Codex Borgia is one of the very few depictions of the ancient Central-Mexican god of death, Mictlantecuhtli. Source: Supplied

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