Mexico City (Mexique): Mysterious 1200AD temple
Archaeologists in Mexico City have unearthed the skulls and other bones of 15 people, most of them the children of traveling merchants during Aztec times.
The mysterious mass grave had a ceremonial purpose, researchers say - and the children were surrounded by religious items including a dog sacrificed to 'keep them company.'
Researcher Alejandra Jasso Pena says they also found ceramic flutes, bowls, incense burners.
Key among the finds were the remains of a dog that was sacrificed to accompany a child in the afterlife and other artifacts of a pre-Columbian civilization.
Jasso Pena said Friday that construction was about to start on five buildings in a Mexico City neighborhood when the National Institute of Anthropology and History asked to carry out an excavation of the site first.
Experts suspected the site was an important ceremonial center for the Tepanec tribe between 1200 and 1300.
The influential traders living there were called Pochtecas.
Archaeologists say excavation is continuing at the site.
Just last year, archeologists discovered a ceremonial Aztec platform used to burn snakes under Mexico City's famous Templo Mayor ruin.
The find raised hoped that there could be an emperor's tomb buried nearby.
The Templo Mayor is a complex of two huge pyramids and numerous smaller structures that contained the ceremonial and spiritual heart of the pre-Hispanic Aztec empire.
But no Aztec ruler's tomb has ever been located and researchers have been on a five-year quest to find a royal tomb in the area of the Templo Mayor.
Mexico's National Institute of History and Anthropology said the stone platform is about 15 yards in diameter and probably built around A.D. 1469.
The site lies in downtown Mexico City, which was built by Spanish conquerors atop the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.