God of Death Shrine

God of Death Shrine Unearthed in Mexico

(Read the article on one page)

In a discovery that would send shivers up your spine, archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History have discovered the first ever shrine dedicated to Mictlantecuhtli, the god of death , along with remains of human sacrifice victims.

The National Institute have called the discovery the ‘Temple of Skulls’ because on the west and north walls, they found two niches containing human skulls and four femurs in each one.  On top of the temple, dated to the 14 th century, they found two ceramic heads and an effigy of the god of the dead. They also found more than 300 fragments of skeletal remains, indicating that human sacrifices were performed on top of the temple.

In Aztec mythology, Mictlantecuhtli was known as the ruler over Mictlan, the lowest underworld, the northern realm of the dead.  He was one of the principal gods of the Aztecs and was the most prominent of several gods and goddesses of death and the underworld. The worship of Mictlantecuhtli sometimes involved ritual cannibalism, with human flesh being consumed in and around the temple.

Mictlantecuhtli was typically depicted as a blood-spattered skeleton or a person wearing a toothy skull. Although his head was typically a skull, his eye sockets did contain eyeballs. His headdress was shown decorated with owl feathers and paper banners, and he wore a necklace of human eyeballs, while his ear spools were made from human bones.  His arms were frequently depicted raised in an aggressive gesture, showing that he was ready to tear apart the dead as they entered his presence. All in all, he would have been a terrifying sight.

The shrine was located about 20 meters south of the Temple of the archaeological site of Tehuacan, Puebla. To date, only 10 percent of the estimated 116 acre site has been excavated so who knows what else may be uncovered.

The area was known to have been inhabited by the Popolocas people, Middle American Indians of southern Puebla state in central Mexico (not to be confused with the Popoluca of southern Mexico).  It is hoped that the fourteenth century shrine will contribute to more widespread knowledge about the Popoloca people who built it.

By April Holloway

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Myths & Legends

Open Book Photo
A legend is a tale regarded as historical even though it has not been proven, and the term “myth” can refer to common yet false ideas. Many myths and legends describe our history, but they are often treated skeptically. This is because many of them, while explaining a phenomenon, involve divine or supernatural beings.

Human Origins

Sky Burial: Tibet’s Ancient Tradition for Honoring the Dead
The tradition of Sky burials, which is also known by the name of ‘Celestial burial’, is particularly associated with the Tibetan culture, although it has existed in other civilizations throughout history.

Ancient Technology

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article