Mexican archaeologists find early burial in first colonial cathedral
The nearly 2-meter-long slab was sunk into the same level of the stucco floor of what appears to be an Aztec temple. The cathedral was simply built over the temple and apparently used the same floor. The Spaniards apparently gave the floor only a thin coat of lime white-wash before using it for their church.
"The Spaniards, Hernan Cortes and his followers, made use of the pre-Hispanic structures, the temples, the foundations, the floors," said Raul Barrera, an archaeologist for the government's National Institute of Anthropology and History. "They even used the walls, the floors. They couldn't destroy everything all at once."
|In the middle portion of the slab, a shield outlined with three fleurs de lys|
[Credit: Mauricio Marat, INAH]
Within 30 years after his burial, the first cathedral was already deemed too small and in bad shape to serve the thriving new colony. The second cathedral was built next to it between 1573 and the 1620s, when the old cathedral was torn down and, apparently, quickly forgotten.
At some time before Mexico gained its independence in 1821, someone drilled a hole into the ground where the tomb stands and sank a wooden post or a cross into the tomb. The capstone slab bears a hole where the post stood and the stone is fractured into two parts, perhaps as a result.
|Reporters stand near the site where archaeologists found a massive stone slab |
near the Cathedral in Mexico City, Wednesday, April 13, 2016
[Credit: AP/Eduardo Verdugo]
The grave slab was found by accident, when engineers were trying to dig foundations for lamp posts to illuminate the current cathedral.
Author: Mark Stevenson | Source: The Associated Press [April 13, 2016]