• Who's Buried in Monteczuma's Tomb? Have Cast Treasures Been Found?

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    Archaeologists
    working amid the smog and din of Mexico City may be on the verge
    of unlocking an extraordinary time capsule.

    The leaders
    of a team exploring a site opened up by earthquake damage believe
    that they have found the first tomb of an Aztec ruler. If they are
    right the site may yield one of the great treasures of antiquity,
    the sort of haul that fires the imagination of people far beyond
    academic circles.

    None
    of the finds has been put on public display but Britain will get
    an early preview. Fourteen gold objects from the site will feature
    in the British Museum’s exhibition on Moctezuma II, the last
    great Aztec ruler. These could prove to be the early pickings of
    a much richer harvest. Colin McEwan, head of the British Museum’s
    Americas section, said: “There is no question that this has
    the potential to be a once-in-a-generation find”.

    The dig is
    in the middle of what was the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan. Near
    by stands the Catedral Metropolitana de la Asunción de María,
    which was built from the stones of Moctezuma’s Templo Mayor,
    which was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521. The temple’s ruins
    were subsequently lost for nearly five centuries and discovered
    only by accident in 1978. Colonial buildings built around it made
    further exploration difficult but an earthquake in 1985 cleared
    the way for the present dig.

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    June
    15, 2009

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