South America


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 […]


An archaeological smoking gun: the tomb of a Maya warrior queen

Archaeologists in Guatemala believe they may have uncovered the tomb of the 7th-century warrior queen K’abel, one of the great female rulers of Classic Maya civilisation. The burial was discovered during excavations by a team from Washington University in St Louis investigating the Maya city of El Perú-Waka, about 75km (47 miles) from Tikal. Interred […]


Running dry

The collapse of Classic Maya civilisation was brought about by war and social unrest driven by climate change, newly published research suggests. An international team of scientists have analysed stalagmites in Yok Balum cave, Belize, to reconstruct a precisely dated record of rainfall in the Classic Maya region, dating back 2,000 years. This was compared […]


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 […]

An archaeological smoking gun: the tomb of a Maya warrior queen

  Excavations in Guatemala may have uncovered the tomb of K’abel, a 7th century warrior queen and one of the great female rulers of Classic Maya civilisation, it was announced today (4 October). The burial was discovered by archaeologists from Washington University in St Louis during investigations at the Maya city of El Perú-Waka, about 75km from Tikal. […]

Temple of the Night Sun

Temple of the Night Sun

The mighty temple of a little known Maya Kingdom, and the undisturbed tomb of its first ruler.


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 […]


Flying high

Archaeological sites that take years to record using traditional methods could be mapped in minutes, according to new research by Vanderbilt University. At Mawchu Llacta, a 16th-century colonial town in Peru, scientists are testing a remote-controlled flying device called SUAVe (Semi-autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), which is small enough to fit in a backpack and takes […]

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 […]


Ricardo Agurcia: How Copan is leading the way

The enormous wealth generated by the tourist industry is placing increasing demands on our cultural heritage. Richard Hodges chats with Ricardo Agurcia, director of excavations at the ancient Maya site in Honduras, where one of the world’s poorest countries is successfully balancing archaeology with tourism.


Book review: Frontier Life in Ancient Peru: the archaeology of Cerro la Cruz

By Melissa A Vogel University Press of Florida, £64.50 ISBN 978-0813037967   This is the first English-language work on the Casma, a pre-Inca culture that has received little academic attention to-date – something that Melissa Vogel sets out to redress. Focusing on the northernmost part of the polity, Vogel discusses a pivotal period, AD 900-1300, […]

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