Thursday, February 13, 2020

An Archaeological "Mini-Site"

The neighborhoood of San Pedro de los Pinos is just a short walk from where I stay.  It has a very small archaeological site of Aztec ruins called "Mixcoac".  

Quite some time ago I wrote about this site.  At that time it was closed to the public, and I was only able to take a few photos through the fence and from the road running above the ruins.  As of August of last year, the site was opened to the public, so I returned to take a closer look at it.

The Aztec structures which stood here were leveled by the Spanish, and all that remained were the foundations.  It was not rediscovered until 1917 when an historian noticed that the fields here were elevated above the surrounding countryside.  (At that time this area was on the outskirts of Mexico City.)  He matched the suspicious elevation with a map from 1550 that showed the location of Mixcoac.  Excavation was done and the remains of an Aztec temple and a small ceremonial plaza were uncovered.  

By 1960 the city had grown around the site and the "Anillo Periférico" (an elevated ring highway) was built right next to it.  Archaeologists worked to make sure that the road construction would have minimal impact on the ruins.

You can see from this photo how the highway is next to the archaeological site.

A small museum was built, tucked under the elevated "Periférico".

The museum tells the history of Mixcoac and of other archaeological sites within Mexico City.  There are also the remains of some walls that were beneath the highway.

Mixcoac was a site for the worship of Mixcóatl, the Aztec god of the hunt (represented here in the museum).

At the end of October ceremonies would be held here in honor of Mixcóatl.  There would be music and dancing and religious ceremonies (human sacrifices?).  Then the hunters would leave from here to go into the hills to hunt.

Not much remains, and the site is extremely small.  I spent about a half hour here, including time in the museum.  But it is fascinating to find this small remnant of the Aztec world in the middle of the modern city.

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