Mining for ochre in ancient Mexico

Divers exploring the now-submerged caves of Quintana Roo in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula have uncovered evidence for red ochre mining between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago, the oldest known example of the exploitation of this mineral resource in the Americas.


Travel: Mérida

Seeking out Maya masterpieces in Yucatán Head off the beaten track in Mexico and you might be rewarded with some magnificent Maya archaeology, as Tom St John Gray reveals. The Spanish have built a city here and called it Mérida, because of the strangeness and greatness of its structures. In 1566, Diego de Landa – […]


Travel: The Yucatán

Richard Hodges visits sites in the shadow of Chichén Itzá. Hotels, at their best, resemble oases in a desert. Mayaland – nestling in the shadow of Chichén Itzá, one of the New World’s Seven Wonders – is just such a place. Its civility and graciousness are rooted in the Carnegie expeditions to this Maya metropolis, […]

Featured Image Mexico City

48 Hours in Mexico City: what to do and where to go

Home to over 21 million people, Mexico City is a glorious, sprawling, beautiful, and endlessly captivating capital. As the city with the largest number of museums in the world, it is packed with archaeological and architectural treasures that showcase an astounding cultural history. In 1519, Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés arrived in the region and witnessed […]


Unusual offerings

Over 130 human skulls, thought to be the remains of human sacrifices, have been discovered in a remote Mexican field, far from known ritual centres. Dated to c.AD 660-869, they were found during excavations led by Christopher Morehart of Georgia State University, who was investigating ancient agricultural practices near Lake Xaltocan. The skulls, all adult […]

tenochtitlan crop for web

Book Review: Tenochtitlan – Capital of the Aztec Empire

Tenochtitlan José Luis de Rojas University Press of Florida ISBN 978-0-8130-4220-6 Besides Ancient Egypt, no civilisation has been examined and scrutinised more than the Aztecs. Human Sacrifice, vicious and bloody wars, magnificent architecture and a spectacular downfall have brought the Aztec empire eternal fame. In this informative and stimulating book, José Luis de Rojas brings […]


Sacrificial skulls at Templo Mayor

Archaeologists have discovered 50 human skulls and over 250 jawbones dating back over 500 years near a sacrificial stone at the main Aztec temple in Mexico City. Located within the sacred precinct of Tenochtitlan, the old Aztec capital, the remains represent the largest number of skulls found in a single deposit at Templo Mayor. Forty-five […]


Bones to unpick

Construction work in the ruins of Tenochtitlan in Mexico City has uncovered a unique burial at the foot of the Aztec capital’s main temple: the skeleton of a young woman, surrounded by a jumble of almost 2,000 human bones. Lying beneath a slab floor associated with the fifth phase of building at Templo Mayor (AD […]

Pedal power

In a rather more earthbound initiative, Google Maps staff in Mexico have pedalled tricycles mounted with cameras around 30 pre-Hispanic sites to create 360˚ photo tours of famous monuments including Teotihuacan, Chichen Itza, and Palenque. Recorded with the cooperation of Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the sites can be visited virtually through […]


Cutting-edge research

Archaeologists studying 31 obsidian knives from Cantona, a pre-Hispanic site in Mexico, have discovered minute traces of 2,000-year-old human blood, skin, and hair on the blades – the first direct evidence of such tools being used for human sacrifice. Previously researchers had relied on cut marks on the bones of presumed victims to reconstruct how […]


Mexico: Potted History

We know, from hieroglyphic references and illustrations, that the ancient Maya and their gods enjoyed a smoke. But physical evidence is rare. Now residue from a 1,300-year-old pot has provided the first traces of tobacco to be found in a Mayan container. The small clay vessel comes from the Mirador Basin in Southern Campeche, Mexico, […]

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