• gerard van weyenbergh

Discovery in Mexico of an Aztec Palace, house of Cortes.

Under the imposing building of the Nacional Monte de Piedad, in the middle of the central square of Mexico City, hid basalt slab floors corresponding to an open space in the palace of Axayácatl, the "tlatoani" (Aztec ruler) of Tenochtitlan between 1469 and 1481, father of the monarch Moctezuma, one of the last kings of the Aztec empire.

During the excavations, the remains of the primary residence of Cortes were also discovered, which later housed the first administrative assembly of New Spain. This discovery was made during the reinforcement works of the building of Monte de Piedad, three centuries old.

In a room adjacent to the work area, archaeologists Raúl Barrera and José María García carried out intensive excavations, bringing to light the remains of a five-by-four-meter room made of ashlar and tezontle, a kind of red volcanic stone. "Subsequent analyzes allowed us to conclude that it was the home of Hernan Cortes, after the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan in 1521," the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said in a statement.

Under Cortes' house, more than three meters deep were found the remains of another floor of basalt slabs, but from pre-Hispanic times. Experts argue that"It was part of an open space of the old palace of Axayácatl, probably a patio," the INAH added. Barrera and García point out that these remains from the beginning of the viceroyalty correspond to reused materials from the Palace of Axayácatl, which, like other buildings in the sacred precinct of Tenochtitlan, were destroyed by the Spaniards and their native allies.

These pre-Hispanic soils "were the same ones that the Spanish invaders and their allies crossed when they arrived in Tenochtitlan on November 8, 1519," notes Barrera.

The basements where ancient Tenochtitlan was built, remain an endless source of archaeological discoveries.

Le journal des arts