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Aztec grave foundFeb 12 2009

A mass grave found during the excavation of a pyramid in Mexico City may contain the remains of the last Aztec warriors who fought Cortes and the Spanish.

Guilliem said many burials have been found at the site with the remains of Indians who died during epidemics that swept the Aztec capital in the years after the conquest and killed off much of the Indian population.

But those burials were mostly hurried, haphazard affairs in which remains were jumbled together in pits regardless of age or gender.

The burial reported Tuesday is different. The dead had many of the characteristics of warriors: All were young men, most were tall and several showed broken bones that had mended.

The men also were carefully buried Christian-style, lying on their backs with arms crossed over their chests, though many appear to have been wrapped up in large maguey cactus leaves, rather than placed in European coffins.

The mass grave contained evidence of an Aztec-like ritual in which offerings such as incense and animals were set alight in an incense burner, but Spanish elements including buttons and a bit of glass also were present.

(via history blog)

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