Pre-Columbian temazcal found in La Merced
The discovery was made in Talavera street - Photo: Taken from INAH's website

Pre-Columbian temazcal found in La Merced

Mexico City
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The discovery has allowed the location of the Temazcaltitlán borough, one of the most ancient ones in Tenochtitlán

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In a lot located in La Merced, a team of experts has discovered the remains of a pre-Columbian temazcal that has allowed the location of the Temazcaltitlán borough, one of the most ancient ones in Tenochtitlán.

The Sigüenza Map, the Mexicáyotl Chronicle, and the Aubin Codice were the first sources to mention the existence of the steam room that was found at the center of the Aztec empire and dates from the 16th century.

Have you heard of Tenochtitlán, the ancient city that amazed Hernán Cortés?

In the property, possibly inhabited by an indigenous family of noble origin after the Conquest, the excavation revealed different architectonic structures of a tannery that worked between 1720 and 1820.

Photo: Courtesy of INAH

The remains of the temazcal were found in the west area of the property. This bath was made with adobe blocks and pieces of tezontle covered with stucco. In addition, the bath or pool of water for the steam room is located in the central part.

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The works in Talavera street were carried out by experts from the Archeological Rescue Direction (DSA) and was in charge of Víctor Esperón Calleja, who asserted that the tlaxilacalli (name of the borough) belonged to the Teopan partiality, first lake territory occupied by the Aztecs.

A pre-Columbian borough with divine origins
The finding stands out for being the first time that there is a plausible testimony of the vocation of Temezcaltitlán, a borough where female goddesses were worshipped, such as Tlazolteotl, Ayopechtli or Ixcuina, Coatlicue, Toci, Chalchiuhtlicue, and Mayahuel, who were linked to earth, fertility, water, and pulque.

The causality of this area is an unbelievable coincidence with the works currently taking place in the famous alley which is now full of stores where Baby Jesus figures are dressed for Candlemas.

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Furthermore, in the Mexicáyotl Chronicle, Hernando Alvarado Tezozómoc said that the temazcal created in this area was made to bathe and purify princess Quetzalmoyahuatzin, who had given birth in Mixiuhca: “There bathed Contzallan’s mother, hence it is called Temezcaltitlan, where all Mexicans bathed, where they settled,” says the source.

Photo: Courtesy of INAH

This was the original spot of the islet where Aztecs saw the signals forecast by Huitzilopochtli, which is reminded by a monument installed in the community.

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