Ancient Aztec temple discovered in Mexico City

Remains of deadly ball court also found


Ancient Aztec temple discovered in Mexico City

A large temple to the Aztec god of the wind and court where the Aztecs played often deadly ball games have been discovered in Mexico City.

It's thought temple was built during the 1486-1502 reign of Aztec Emperor Ahuizotl, predecessor of Moctezuma, the last Aztec emperor, who conquistador Hernan Cortes toppled during the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

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Archaeologists also made a gruesome discovery of 32 severed male neck vertebrae in a pile just off the court.

It is believed the ball game, which may have involved using hips to keep the ball in play, also often involved human sacrifices.

According to, archaeologist Raul Barrera said: "It was an offering associated with the ball game, just off the stairway.

"The vertebrae, or necks, surely came from victims who were sacrificed or decapitated."

Ancient Aztec temple discovered in Mexico City

The site adds that early Spanish accounts tell of how a young Moctezuma played against an elderly allied king on the court and lost, which was taken as sign that the Aztec Empire's days were numbered.

Archaeologists suggest that the top of temple was built to resemble a coiled snake, and priests would enter through a doorway made to look like a reptile's nose.

Mexico City was built on top of the ruins of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. It is likely that more discoveries like this could still be found.

Ancient Aztec temple discovered in Mexico City

According to the Telegraph, a hotel used to stand on the site of the newly-discovered ruins, until it collapsed in an earthquake in 1985 that killed thousands of people.

There are plans to open the site to the public, although a date has not yet been set.

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