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  • The Offerings of the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan
  • Charles C. Kolb
The Offerings of the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan. By Leonardo López Luján. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005. Pp. xxix, 421. Illustrations. Tables. Maps. Appendices. Notes. Bibliography. Index. $29.95 paper.

López Luján (Senior Researcher and Professor of Archaeology, Museo del Templo Mayor, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, México), has prepared a revised edition of his 1994 award-winning book which synthesizes the results of the historic Templo Mayor Project (1978-1997). This project arose from the accidental discovery of the Coyolxauhqui monolith in 1978 and had as its main objective the rescue of the temple's remains, adjoining structures, and associated objects. The archaeologists were also charged with the tasks of preserving and studying the remains and making the artifacts and their interpretations available to the public. The temple was a double pyramid, with separate stairs, dedicated to the gods Tlaloc (water and rain) and Huitzilopochtli (war, conquest, and tributes) and was the largest and most visible landmark of the urban infrastructure of the Mexica capital of Tenochtitlan. It represented the cosmic center of a universe that required human sacrifice to sustain it.

Between 1325 and 1521, the Mexica ritually buried hundreds of offerings in and around the temple during complex religious ceremonies that incorporated sacred messages to the deities through these objects and their precise, symbolic placements. Excavations yielded a multitude of ceramic and stone artifacts and 124 offerings, [End Page 653] including masks, jewelry, human and animal remains (jaguars and alligators), statues of gods, jade and other precious stones, human remains, and marine objects. This new edition documents the results of the now completed project and provides 157 black-and-white illustrations and a 441-item bibliography. The types of the objects, their locations and orientations, symbolism, and relationships are documented in a persuasive, detailed narrative that holds the interest of specialists and general readers. The latter also gain an appreciation of the magnitude and complexity of archaeological excavation, object conservation, and interpretation. Additional information is available on the Museo's Internet site:

Charles C. Kolb
National Endowment for the Humanities
Washington, DC


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pp. 653-654
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