Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, great archaeologist from Tenochtitlan, Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences


In 1978, he founded the project that made it possible to discover the origins of the Mexican capital in the center of Mexico City.

Eduardo Matos Moctezuma.
Eduardo Matos Moctezuma.EFE
  • from Tenochtitlan to Mexico City Zcalo. Archaeological wonder in

Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, Mexican archaeologist and anthropologist best known for pioneering prospects in the historic center of Mexico City, In search of the burial city of TenochtitlanAccording to the verdict announced this morning in Oviedo, the winner of the Princess of Asturias Award for the Social Sciences is.

For 44 years, the career of Matos Moctezuma (Mexico City) has been linked to the Templo Mayor Project, which began by chance. On February 21, 1978, some electrical service workers working in a repair in the center of the capital found a colossal stone statue of Coyolxauqui, the goddess of the Mexica (the term used in academic circles for the Aztecs), representing the moon. . This discovery changed attitudes towards the study of the pre-Hispanic past and promoted Mexica culture and a long-standing program of which Matos Moctezuma has been the leader.

The initial aim of the plan is to discover the ceremonial center of Tenochtitlan, known as the Sacred Enclosure, located in the center of the island of Tenochtitlan, at the confluence of the three main streets that line the city. 200 meters from the current Xacallo Square and from the façade of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City, The enclosure is a square of 400 meters per side, at that time occupied 78 buildings and hosted the most important events in the political, economic and religious life of the Mexica Empire.

Over the years, the Templo Mayor project has expanded its boundaries, becoming an urban archeology plan, and has spread throughout the historic center of Mexico City. Expansion of the Cultural Center of Spain behind the Metropolitan Cathedral, allowed to be discovered in 2006, Remains of Calmcac, A school where children of the Mexica elite studied. Later, archaeologists discovered, under the Monte de Piedad national building, the remains of the castle of Exycatl, where the Spaniards were kept upon their arrival in Tenochtitlán, where Moctezuma was taken prisoner and died, and where Hernán Cortes had made his home.

“I founded Proacto Templo Mayor around 1978 with an interdisciplinary team: biologist, chemist, geologist, botanist, Today, after 42 years, the support of various sciences is trying to unravel the past, what was the great temple and the places around it,” Matos Moctezuma explained in an interview with the newspaper. Millennium in the year 2020.

The archaeologist is also the author of several academic and popular books, often devoted to the culture of death in pre-Hispanic Mexico. In 1975, Death on the Age of Obsidian: The Nahuas Facing Death. The second, from 1986, was Life and Death in Templo Mayor, and lastly, death among mexicoAppeared in 2010.

Matos Moctezuma’s view of Mexico’s history is that of a scientist who avoids idealization and moral judgments about the past. His view of Mexico is that of a country born out of a synthesis between the American people and their Spanish invaders., The temptation is to think that the decision on his Princess of Asturias award serves to remind us of the old friendship between Mexico and Spain, which has been scarce in recent years due to political debate.

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