National Geographic : 2010 Nov
Spider monkey pelt Golden eagles Dressed knife Marine shells and animals Gold and jade ornaments Canine 33.5 in 19.7 in Offering orientation 1502 1520 N Buried Meaning The spatial arrangement of the complex contents of offering box 125 pro- vides clues to a mystery: Were the artifacts layered to represent a soul's journey to Mictlan, the underworld? LEVEL 3 In the last layer, an aged female dog or wolf wore a jade necklace, olive shell belt, and turquoise earplugs. Perhaps the jewelry signified a royal pet assigned to guide and protect its master on the dark odyssey. LEVEL 1 The top layer contained gold bells, a spider monkey pelt, jade and gold orna- ments, and golden eagles wearing copper. The eagles faced west, toward the setting sun. Nocturnal power was signified by eight knives "dressed" as lunar deities. LEVEL 2 A layer of 62 marine species from the Atlantic and Pacific included crabs, clams, snails, sea urchins, and corals. The abundant sea life may represent dangerous waters the dead must cross, trekking through nine levels of obstacles. ALEJANDRO TUMAS; SHELLEY SPERRY ART: HERNÁN CAÑELLAS. MAP: MAGGIE SMITH SOURCES: LEONARDO LÓPEZ LUJÁN, TEMPLO MAYOR PROJECT, INAH; FRANCES F. BERDAN, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN BERNARDINO; JULIANA NOVIC AND MICHAEL E. SMITH, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY; EMILY UMBERGER, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA AHUITZOTL (Water Beast) conquers new lands and is called huey tlatoani, or great speaker. MOCTEZUMA XOCOYOTZIN (Angry Lord, the Younger) aggressively moves to consolidate his empire, largest in Mesoamerica's history. CUITLAHUAC (Excrement) rules only 80 days before succumbing to smallpox. CUAUHTEMOC (Descending Eagle)---the last emperor---is captured, tortured, and hanged by Cortés. 1500 Heavy rains in poorly built aqueduct flood Tenochtitlan. 1499-1506 Drought and famine plague the Basin of Mexico. 1519 Cortés enlists native city-states to destroy the empire. 1521 Smallpox begins to ravage the basin's million inhabitants.