Mexican archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma won the Princess of Asturias

Mexican archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma won the Princess of Asturias

The distinguished Mexican archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma. Photo: AFP.

The Mexican archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezumawho as a researcher coordinated one of the most significant excavations in recent decades, that of the Templo Mayor in ancient Tenochtitlán, Mexico City, was recognized with the Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences for his “intellectual rigour” in the field of Mesoamerican studies “free of myths”, according to the jury.

She is one of the most prestigious experts in her discipline, with a career that includes work carried out in 1978 at the height of historic center of Mexico City, where the remains of the city of Tenochtitlán were foundits sacred precinct and the Templo Mayor.

This great archaeological site had been found by workers from a power company who came across a stone carved with the Aztec goddess Coyolxauhqui.

The archaeologists put the magnifying glass there and the archaeological mission was in charge of Matos Moctezuma, who directed the excavations and subsequent reconstruction of the sitewhich provided invaluable information about the Aztec culture.

It is that there, in that city, the center of the political and religious life of that society had functioned. Among the most important findings of Main Temple Project There are the extensions to that temple, as well as the House of the Eagles, the Cuauhxicalco and the monolith of the earth goddess, Tlaltecuhtli.

The result of this extensive and profuse investigation is now visible: a enormous open-air museum and also built, where that unearthed center is reconstructedwhose ruins are a tourist attraction in Mexico City, through which more than thirteen million people have passed since its opening in 1987.

Matos Moctezuma

Upon receiving the award, the archaeologist said that the recognition “fills him with pride”, while he assured: “The names of my teachers come to my memory, who trained me in the field of anthropology and, in particular, of archaeology. Penetrating the past to bring it to the present has been the work that I have constantly carried out throughout my life”.

Matos Moctezuma, born in 1940, is Master in Anthropological Sciences with a specialty in Archeology at the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and honorary member of the Archeological Institute of America.

For their contributions, the Harvard University distinguished him with the Henry B. Nicholson Medal in 2002 and in 2016 established a chair with his name.

The archaeologist is the author of the books “El Templo Mayor de los Aztecas”, “Muerte a filo de obsidiana”, “Mexica Studies” and “La muerte entre los Mexica”, among some of the volumes of his research, where he reflects his studies from field work in places such as Comalcalco, Tepeapulco, Bonampak, Cholula, Coacalco and Tlatelolco.

In addition to the Templo Mayor, among the most resonant projects of his career are the Comprehensive investigation of pre-Hispanic, colonial and modern Tulawhich he directed in the 1960s, and Teotihuacán, where he excavated the Pyramid of the Sun and founded the Museum of Teotihuacan Culture and the Center for Teotihuacan Studies.

The Social Sciences is the third of the eight Princess of Asturias Awards. Last year, the same award went to the Indian economist Amartya Sen, a world-renowned researcher on poverty and human development, and the previous one to the Turkish Dani Rodrik, who investigates political economy and globalization.

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