A significant part of the scientific community denies the very existence of the Aztatlan culture.
In the Mexican city of Mazatlán, repairmen accidentally discovered ancient human remains. The found burial is very different from the traditional burials of Mazatlán.
The work was immediately stopped so that the employees of the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico (INAH) carried out archaeological excavations.
According to archaeologist Víctor Joel Santos Ramírez, rescue coordinator, the area is a natural high hill near the mouth of the El Quelite River. In pre-Hispanic times, people settled there in order, on the one hand, to live near the river and use its resources, and on the other, to avoid seasonal flooding.
Part of the surface of the hill was covered with crushed shells. But under this impromptu “floor” was a human burial. It is definitely unusual.
Let’s start with the fact that archaeologists have found the remains of only one person – that is, this is not a cemetery, not a place of regular burials. At the same time, three fragmented ceramic vessels of rather fine workmanship and a smoking pipe were found in the burial. The preservation of human remains is very poor, due to local climatic conditions.
Mazatlán was founded by the Spaniards in 1531, ten years after the fall of Tenochtitlan. But not too regular excavations within the city show that this area was inhabited even before the Europeans. A number of burials found indicate that the indigenous inhabitants of those places adhered to the same ritual: they buried the dead in large vessels. It is not entirely clear why Mexican archaeologists attributed this find to the Aztatlán culture: similar pottery is found in many places in Mesoamerica up to the territory of modern Costa Rica.
The found burial, therefore, strongly stands out from the local burial tradition. Mexican archaeologists have suggested that they have found the tomb of Aztatlán, a man from Aztlán, the mythical homeland of the Aztecs.
In general, today there is no evidence that Aztlán ever existed anywhere other than myths. In the scientific community, it is perceived as something between Atlantis and Camelot, but they are looking for it with undying persistence, including for political reasons.
Scholars agree that the Aztecs roamed North America for a long time before founding Tenochtitlan in 1325. And around the same time, the emergence of the legend of Aztlan is attributed. The myths do not contain exact indications of where he was. It is only clear that north of Tenochtitlan.
The description is also rather poor: a small island in a lake inhabited by herons. Based on these, frankly, poor signs, at the end of the 19th century, Mexican historians announced that Aztlán was located on Mescaltitan, a small island in mangrove swamps. Local residents (now there are less than two thousand people) found a certain amount of pre-Columbian ceramics, but no one conducted serious archaeological excavations there. Accordingly, this assumption has not received scientific approval.
A century later, the question of the location of the ancestral home of the Aztecs suddenly became relevant again. This was due to the growing number of Mexican migrants in the US. It is not entirely clear who first came up with the idea to look for the roots of the Aztec culture in the United States. But whoever seeks will find.
Petroglyphs found in Shogo Canyon in the US state of Utah. They are divided into three groups and attributed to three different Indian cultures. The images of one group were considered by some researchers to be similar to the images carved on the Stone of the Sun – a basalt disk on which the Aztec cosmogony is schematically displayed.
And on Antelope Island, in the middle of the Great Salt Lake in the same state, seven caves were discovered. And this coincides with another (probably earlier) legend about the ancestral home of the Aztecs – about Chicomostok, which consists of just seven caves.
Of course, none of this proves in any way that Aztlán was in Utah. Although the Aztecs themselves in their nomadic years could be there and even live for some time. But scientific evidence rarely matters in an ideological struggle. And with her, the situation is such that those who yesterday were illegal migrants without documents, today identify themselves as the indigenous population of Utah. And claims put forward appropriate.
Although it is not yet clear on what basis Mexican archaeologists attributed the found burial to the Aztatlán culture, it is still of great interest. It remains to be hoped that facts, not legends, will become the basis for the final conclusions of scientists.
Photo: Exodus of the Aztecs from Aztlan, drawing from the Codex Boturini, manuscript by an unknown Aztec author (the name is given by the name of one of the first owners) / ©wikipedia.org