Archaeology news: Conquistadors slaughtered Aztec women and children in revenge act

Aztec house with wall of SKULLS explored by researchers

Archaeology experts carrying out excavations in central Mexico have discovered almost an entire village was slain in an act of revenge from the conquistadors. The researchers had been looking at an ancient Aztec town known as Tecoaque which, if this is not evidence enough, translates to “the place where they ate them” in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs.

Archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said in 1520, residents of Tecoaque captured a convoy of Spaniards, which included 15 men, 50 women, 10 children, 45 foot soldiers and 350 South American allies.

The convoy was heading south from Cuba, where conquistador Hernan Cortes first made land in 1519.

All of the captured were subsequently sacrificed or even eaten over the ensuing months, according to INAH.

When Cortes caught wind of the sacrifices, he ordered troops to go in and destroy the village as an act of revenge.

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Most of the inhabitants heard the attack was coming and so fled, but this was not before the bones of the sacrificed Spaniards were thrown in to wells, the archaeologists revealed.

However, many women and child decided to remain, as is evident from the discovery of dozens of skeletons.

INAH said in a statement: “Some of the warriors who had stayed in the town managed to flee, but women and children remained, and they were the main victims.

“This we have been able to demonstrate over a 120m stretch of the main thoroughfare, where the skeletons of a dozen women were found who appeared to be ‘protecting’ the bones of ten children between the ages of five and six.

“The placement of the burials suggest these people were fleeing, were massacred and buried hurriedly.

“Women and children who were sheltering inside rooms were mutilated, as evidenced by the discovery of hacked bones on the floors.

“The temples were burned and the statues were decapitated.”

According to the team, when the conquistadors arrived at the town, they were greeted by the heads of decapitated Spanish women.

Analysis showed the women were pregnant, and pregnant women may have been considered a “warrior” in pre-Hispanic South America.

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Another display of barbarity from the Aztecs saw a woman’s body cut in half, which was likely a sacrifice, along with a dismembered child aged three or four.

The Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire was a huge event in their colonisation of the Americas. Cortes conquered the Aztecs against the odds.

He did so by forming alliances with various indigenous groups, turning groups against each other.

Cortes and his fleet are estimated to have killed around 100,000 indigenous people during his conquests.

King Charles I of Spain, however, appointed him the governor of New Spain shortly afterwards in 1522.

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