Sixteen feet (five meters) below street level in Mexico City, archaeologists have found a jumble of 1,789 bones from children, teenagers, and adults along with the complete skeleton of a young woman.
The burial, dating to the 1480s, lies at the foot of the main temple in the sacred ceremonial precinct of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, founded by the Aztecs in 1325. The Aztecs dominated central Mexico until falling to Spanish conquistadores in 1521.
Although several burials with multiple remains have been uncovered previously in this precinct, this is the first that includes human bones from such a wide span of ages.
The discovery offers a rare opportunity to study Aztec funerary rituals and religious beliefs. Few burials from that culture have come to light, most likely because they lie beneath modern buildings.
(Related: "Unburying the Aztec.")
Pictures: Mass Sacrifice Found Near Aztec Temple
Below street level in Mexico City, archaeologists have found a jumble of bones dating to the 1480s.