The skeleton of an Aztec woman was considered a “Spanish monk” for 50 years: scientists from Mexico discovered a historical error

The skeleton of an Aztec woman was considered a “Spanish monk” for 50 years: scientists from Mexico discovered a historical error


Recent studies of an ancient palace in Mexico have pointed to a serious historical error. For 50 years, the skeleton on display in the palace was believed to belong to a Spanish monk, but new analysis has revealed that it actually belonged to an Aztec woman.

The research was conducted by anthropologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico (INAH), writes Arkeonews.

Cortez Palace was damaged by an earthquake in September 2017, which led to its reconstruction.

The find of 1971 was considered to be the burial of Juan Leyva, a Spanish monk who served the wife of Hernand Cortes, the conquistador and pioneer, the conqueror of Mexico. The identification was based on the Franciscan codex of the 16th century. However, the differences in the features of the skeleton caused doubts among scientists.

For 50 years, the skeleton was believed to belong to a Spanish monk

Due to this, as was previously believed to be a well-founded conclusion, the description plate, which “accompanyed” the archaeological find for almost half a century, was written: “Burial with a deformed body”, “A burial of a man with deformed vertebrae was found.”

However, analysis of the skeleton showed that she was a woman between the ages of 30 and 40 at the time of death. From an examination of the size of the humerus, the researchers assume that the person was about 147 centimeters tall. The wider shape of the pelvis also indicates that the skeleton belonged to a woman. Researchers suggest that she was buried ritually, perhaps during a sacrifice. This could have happened during the period of the Spanish invasion between 1500 and 1521.

PHOTO: INAH

According to the scientists, the remains of two other people, including an infant and a child, were also discovered during the study, who were probably in a family relationship. Scientists have suggested a DNA test to prove or disprove this.

Read also: A jade mask from the tomb of King Maya was found in Guatemala



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