By ELISABETH MALKIN and SOFIA CASTELLO Y TICKELL
Published: September 2, 2012
MEXICO CITY — The skeleton is that of a young woman, perhaps an Aztec noble, found intact and buried in the empire’s most sacred spot more than 500 years ago. Almost 2,000 human bones were heaped around her, and she is a mystery.
There are other discoveries yet to be deciphered from the latest excavation site at the heart of this vast metropolis, where the Aztecs built their great temple and the Spanish conquerors laid the foundation of their new empire.
Before announcing the finding of the unusual burial site and the remains of what may be a sacred tree last month, archaeologists had also recently revealed a giant round stuccoed platform decorated with serpents’ heads and a floor carved in relief that appears to show a holy war.
Mexico City might be one of the world’s classic megacities, an ever-expanding jumble of traffic, commerce, grand public spaces, leafy suburbs and cramped slums. But it is also an archaeological wonder, and more than three decades after a chance discovery set off a systematic exploration of the Aztecs’ ceremonial spaces, surprises are still being uncovered in the city’s superimposed layers.