Washington, July 14 (ANI): With the discovery of a richly decorated canine skeleton near a sealed entrance near Mexico's Templo Mayor (Great Temple), an archaeological team might be on the verge of discovering the only known tomb of an Aztec king.
According to a report in National Geographic News, the animal was found wearing wooden earflaps mounted with turquoise mosaic, a collar of greenstone beads, and golden bells around its four feet.
The Templo Mayor canine skeleton was found next to a stone box that contained the remains of a golden eagle, flint sacrificial knives, crustacean shells, and balls of copal resin-tree sap thought to have been used in various substances, such as incense, medicine, and glue.
Recent excavations also uncovered unbroken plaster seals made of lime and sand.
The existence of multiple seals suggests that the tomb, if it's there, could be a collective crypt containing the king and his successors, according to archaeologist Leonardo Lopez Lujan, a senior researcher at the Templo Mayor Museum in Mexico City.
"Each time they buried a newly deceased (dignitary), they sealed the entrance with a plaster seal," he speculated.
That the seals are unbroken suggests that the potential tomb has not been looted.
If there is a royal tomb behind the seals, Lopez Lujan would expect to find the ruler's ashes in stone or ceramic containers as well as the remains of servants, accompanied by personal objects and more offerings from the funeral rites.
The tomb, according to Lopez Lujan, would not be as large as that of Tutankhamun in Egypt or the Maya funeral chambers of Copan in Honduras, "because the Mexicas (Aztecs) never build arches or vaults. It might be a very small room full of offerings."
Despite rising expectations, the archaeologist said he and his team must be patient.
Only by working slowly and methodically will the team be able to reconstruct the funerary customs and other artifacts that could shed light on the Aztec economy, political system, and religion as it existed before the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s. (ANI)