Aztecs

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Ancient Turquoise Rewrites Aztec History

Looks like Mesoamericans found their own and didn't trade with American Southwest

(Newser) - For a long time, scholars have thought that the Aztecs had frequent contact with groups in what's now the American Southwest. But a new chemical analysis of ancient turquoise artifacts just put a giant hole in that theory. It now appears that the Aztecs and another Mesoamerican civilization known... More »

Has a Centuries-Old Aztec Mystery Been Solved?

An epidemic that killed millions could have been due to salmonella, per a new study

(Newser) - Can the teeth of 10 people solve a centuries-old mystery? According to a study published Monday in Nature Ecology and Evolution , perhaps. Its authors suggest that an epidemic that killed as many as 17 million people over the course of two outbreaks in the 16th century and had a hand... More »

Did Salmonella Bring Down the Aztecs?

Scientists present the first genetic evidence of the pathogen

(Newser) - In modern times, a strain of salmonella called Paratyphi C. causes a typhus-like outbreak called enteric fever that can kill as many as 15% of those it infects, mostly in developing countries. Now, evolutionary geneticists think this strain of salmonella could be what sickened and killed millions of natives in... More »

Passageway May Lead to Long-Sought Aztec Tomb

The cremated remains of 200 years of Aztec rulers have never been found

(Newser) - A Mexican archaeologist may have made a major breakthrough in the search for the remains of 200 years of Aztec rulers, the AP reports. Researchers believe the Aztecs cremated their leaders between 1325 and 1521, but despite years of searching their cremated remains have never been found. That may have... More »

Aztec Dog Graveyard Unearthed

First-of-its-kind find puzzles Mexico archeologists

(Newser) - Archeologists have been amazed to discover what may have been an ancient pet cemetery under an apartment building in Mexico City. The Aztecs believed the spirits of dogs could guide human souls to the afterlife or protect buildings, but this is the first time a group of dogs has been... More »

Subway Diggers Find Weird Sacrifice in Mexico

Dog was on Aztec skull rack alongside humans

(Newser) - Digging deep under a city as ancient as Mexico City is bound to turn up surprises, and archaeologists have found one that changes their understanding of Aztec human sacrifice. Excavations for an extension of the city's subway system turned up the remains of numerous sacrifices, including the skull of... More »

Expert Tunes Into Aztec 'Death Whistles'

Sounds from pre-Columbian ceremonies brought back to life

(Newser) - A Mexican engineer has worked for decades to bring the sounds of the Aztecs back to life, reports the AP. Roberto Velazquez has created replicas of the instruments found at many archaeological sites—including the eerie "Whistles of Death" discovered with a skeleton in an ancient temple—and experimented... More »

At Chicago's Field, 'Ancient Americas' Exhibit a Bust

Museum 'patronizes, demeans' its subjects

(Newser) - Revisiting Chicago’s Field Museum—an institution enshrined in loving childhood memories—for its “The Ancient Americas” exhibit is a sore disappointment, PJ O’Rourke writes in the Weekly Standard. Once a bastion of public scholarship so solemn it contained a section devoted to useful varieties of wood, the... More »

Pyramid Unearthed in Mexico City

Newfound Aztec ruins predate known sites by at least a century

(Newser) - Archaeologists have unearthed the ruins of an 800-year-old Aztec pyramid in the heart of modern Mexico City. The ruins, which are approximately 36 feet high, stand on the former site of Tlatelolco, a center of political and religious power and the twin city of Tenochtitlan. The discovery indicates that the... More »

Before It Was Chocolate, It Was Beer

Sweet treat traced to celebratory Honduran brew 3,100 years ago

(Newser) - Chocolate had its origins at least 3,100 years ago in Central America not as a sweet treat but as a celebratory beer-like beverage, reported scientists yesterday after analyzing residues from ancient pottery vessels. The earliest beverages made from cacao—the source of chocolate—likely were produced by fermenting the... More »

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