Feeds

Aztecs sacrificed and ate 550 captives

Skeletons bear witness to ritual slaughter

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Mexican archaelogists have unearthed grisly evidence of Aztec resistance to the Spanish conquest of their land: around 550 skeletons of men, women and children who were ritually sacrified and partially eaten by their captors, Reuters reports.

The unfortunate individuals were mostly "mulatto, mestizo, Maya Indian and Caribbean men and women given to the Spanish as carriers and cooks when they landed in Mexico in 1519", plus some conquistadors. Their slow-moving column was captured in 1520 and killed over a period of six months in revenge for the death of Cacamatzin - king of the city of Texcoco - at the hands of the Spanish.

The victims were kept in cages at Zultepec (current-day Calpulalpan in Tlaxcala state), near Texcoco while they awaited selection by priests from Mexico City. Each day at dawn, a few were singled out for the knife, held down on a sacrificial slab and had their hearts removed as an offering to the gods. The priests and town elders sometimes tucked into their victims' raw hearts or boiled up arms and legs for a hot meal. Knife and teeth marks on some bones confirm the cannibalism, Reuters explains.

Lead archeologist Enrique Martinez told the news agency: "It was a continuous sacrifice over six months. While the prisoners were listening to their companions being sacrificed, the next ones were being selected. You can only imagine what it was like for the last ones, who were left six months before being chosen, their anguish."

Spanish reaction to the slaughter was predictable. On hearing the news, their commander Hernán Cortés ordered the town to be renamed "Tecuaque" ("where people were eaten" in the Nahuatl language) - and dispatched forces to kill its 5,000 inhabitants. When they got wind of the Spaniards' imminent arrival, the locals threw their victims' possessions down wells, thereby "unwittingly preserving buttons and jewelry for the archeologists". As Martinez explained: "They hid all the evidence. Thanks to that act, we have been allowed to discover a chapter we were unaware of in the conquest of Mexico."

This new chapter demonstrates that the Aztecs did not, as is often suggested, always yield to the Spanish "Gods". Martinez concluded: "This is the first place that has so much evidence there was resistance to the conquest. It shows it wasn't all submission. There was a fight." ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?