An Aztec Home and Floating Gardens Over 800 Years Old Was Discovered in Mexico City

Archaeologists uncovered the ruins of a more than 800 year-old residential dwelling, constructed during the Aztec Empire, in the Centro neighborhood of Mexico City, Mexico, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said in a statement last week. The structure was discovered as part of a larger modernization project to electrical power substations.

Spanning more than 4,300 square feet, the abode is believed to date from the late Postclassic period (1200-1521 C.E.) and would have been situated on the border of two neighborhoods in the Aztec Empire’s capital city Tenochtitlan. Along with the dwelling, archaeologists uncovered channels and a jetty, a structure where boats could load and unload, which was a technique employed in Aztec chinampa farming. The chinampa method relied on growing crops in small, rectangular areas of fertile land on shallow lake beds.

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Under the floors, a pair of discovered funerary vessels—one red Texcoco and the other canal brown monochrome—contained the remains of infants, as well as a couple of burials with an offering of censers, whorls, and spinning tools.

Archaeologists also uncovered a 23.5 inch-tall stone statue, depicting a man in a loincloth who appears to be in a throwing motion, from the same period. Due to lack of polish, they believe the statue is unfinished and was possibly hidden around 1521 C.E. during Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire.

Remains from colonial settlement in the 16th and 17th centuries include 20-inch wide walls that were constructed using stones and mud to create four rooms and a patio. Investigations have shown evidence of a saddlery and ceramic workshop during that time.

In the 19th century, according to lead archaeologist Alicia Bracamontes Cruz, it’s thought that the site was used as a public bathhouse for the elite, as chronicled in the writings of 19th-century Mexican physician and historian José María Marroquí. There, the team uncovered remnants of bathroom floor tiles, large pipes, and a drainage system, along with reinforced concrete plates, thermal materials that were exposed to high temperatures, and European construction materials.

While the archaeological work is nearing completion, the team will oversee the continued construction for the new substation.


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