For more than two decades, leading Mexican archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma directed the excavations of the main Aztec temple, located in the ancient capital of Tenochtitlan, in what is now Mexico City’s famous central square.
Under Matos Moctezuma, the excavations at the Templo Mayor, built between 1325 and 1519, provided glimpses into Aztec religion, life, and society that otherwise would have been unknown to the world. His work brought him international acclaim. To honor his achievements, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, the Moses Mesoamerican Archive, and Harvard Divinity School (HDS) will launch the Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Lecture Series in the fall.
In a phone interview with Matos Moctezuma from Mexico City, he talked about the Aztecs, his work at the Templo Mayor, and what’s left to learn about one of the world’s most compelling ancient civilizations. This interview is translated from the original Spanish.
GAZETTE: All ancient cultures have creation myths. What was the Aztecs’?
MATOS MOCTEZUMA: They believed they came from a place called Aztlan, hence the name Aztecs. Some experts think Aztlan is a myth because it has yet to be discovered. According to the myth, they left Aztlan guided by one of their gods until they arrived in the Texcoco Lake, in what’s now Mexico City, where they founded Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire, in the year 1325.
ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: Unearthing the secrets of the Aztecs