Thursday, September 28

The archaeologist of the Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlán, Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences



The famous archaeologist
Eduardo Matos Moctezuma
(Mexico, DF, 1940), researcher emeritus at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) of Mexico and founder and researcher emeritus of the Templo Mayor project in the city of Tenochtitlán, the ancient capital of the Mexica empire, has been awarded the reward Princess of Asturias of Social Sciences 2022.

“Eduardo, if you want to study archaeology, that’s great, but… wouldn’t it be nice if you also studied at the Banking and Commercial School?”, his mother told him when he decided to be an archaeologist in high school. Matos Moctezuma had read the book ‘Gods, tombs and sages’, by CW Ceram and, according to what he himself recounted in an ‘Autobiography’ that he published in the magazine ‘Ancient Mesoamerica’ in 2008, he was so passionate about it that he decided on his future.

Archeology is like a modern time machine that allows us give life to the dead», he has said on occasion.

Over time, this archaeologist from the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) and Master in Anthropological Sciences with a specialty in Archeology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, would become the founder and director of the
Main Temple Project
(1978) and later director of the National Museum of Anthropology (1986-1987) and the Museo del Templo Mayor (1987-2000).

An emeritus researcher at INAH since 2001, Matos Moctezuma was one of the discoverers of the
of the great Tzompantli of Tenochtitlan
, the largest ceremonial offering of skulls found in the Templo Mayor. “This structure had a specific symbolism and many of these skulls could be from enemies of the Mexica who were captured, sacrificed and beheaded, as a warning of their power,” he explained after his discovery in 2015.

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At 81, this honorary member of the
Archaeological Institute of America
The National College
, the highest chair in Mexico, and is part of the Science Advisory Council of the Presidency of the Mexican Republic in the area of ​​social sciences, philosophy and history. Likewise, he is a member of the Mexican Culture Seminar, the Mexican Society of Geography and Statistics, the Caribbean Society of Anthropologists, the Mexican Association of Writers, and the Mexican Academy of History.

Author of numerous publications, including works such as ‘El Templo Mayor de los Aztecas’ (1988), ‘Muerte a filo de obsidiana’ (1996), ‘Estudios mexica’ (1999-2005) and ‘
Death among the Mexica
‘ (2010).

Harvard University awarded him the Henry B. Nicholson Medal in 2002 and in 2016 established a professorship in his name. Among other distinctions he has received Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite and Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France; Socium ab Epistolis, by the Institutum Archaeologicum Germanicum; Andrés Bello Order, awarded by the Venezuelan government and Doctor of Sciences Honoris Causa by the University of Colorado.

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