Archaeologists Reveal How Conquistadors Destroyed Town After Natives Sacrificed 450 Prisoners

Archaeologists have revealed the grim details of how Spanish conquistadors destroyed a pre-Hispanic city in the New World as revenge for the natives sacrificing 450 prisoners they took from a ship.

The discoveries were made by members of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and announced in a press release yesterday, 18th January.

It revealed details of how the prehispanic town of Zultepec-Tecoaque was destroyed by 200 foot soldiers and 15 horsemen led by Gonzalo de Sandoval who was acting under the orders of the infamous Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes.

The order is believed to have been a revenge mission against the Acolhua people who inhabited the town after they killed 450 people they captured on a Spanish vessel in 1520.

Credit: Meliton Tapia-INAH/Newsflash
Remains found in the well of the site

The natives killed the prisoners as ritualistic sacrifices.

The prisoners, which consisted of men, women and children both from Europe and local tribes allied to the Spanish settlers, were killed over a period of eight gruelling months.

Scientists discovered remains that belonged to some of the victims and found some of the bones had even been modified to appear as trophies.

They also uncovered animal remains, deity sculptures, and various personal items of the prisoners.

Site director Martínez Vargas said the locals started calling the area ‘where they were eaten’ after the large number of sacrifices started to occur.

He added the site has significant historical importance as it was a major town in the natives’ stand against the Spanish conquerors and because its fall marked the beginning of the conquest of Mexico-Tenochtitlan 500 years ago.

Credit: Meliton Tapia-INAH/Newsflash
Women and children who had to be kept in their rooms were mutilated, as it was confirmed during the analysis of the bones

Zultepec-Tecoaque’s population reached roughly 5,000 people at the time of its destruction, but most people were able to make it out alive as the locals expected an attack after taking the Spanish ship.

Archaeologists found the bone remains of 10 adult women who appeared to be “protecting” children as the remains of 10 infants aged between five and six were found alongside them.

Martinez Vargas said: “The women and children who took shelter in their rooms were also mutilated as was shown through evidence of severed bones on the floor of the rooms.

“The temples were burned and the sculptures of their gods were decapitated. This is how this site which represented resistance to Cortes was destroyed.”

Credit: Proy Zultepec Tecoaque-INAH/Newsflash
Indigenous women and children killed and buried in the road of the site

Investigators also found that there was some exchange in culture between the Spanish and natives as some prisoners were kept as guests in their homes where they found ovens and wall structures introduced by the Europeans.

Researchers discovered some 25,000 pieces of evidence in just 3.5 of the 32 hectares of the entire site as they hope to better understand the full scope of Cortes’ revenge.

To find out more about the author, editor or agency that supplied this story – please click below.
Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub-Editor: Joana Mihajlovska, Agency:  Newsflash

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