Templo Mayor, Mexico

An Aztec temple in the heart of Mexico City



CyArk scanning Templo Mayor in Mexico City by CyArkCyArk

Expedition Overview

In March 2016, CyArk documented Templo Mayor in the historic center of Mexico City. CyArk offered its assistance to site conservators who were recording some of the more fragile artifacts located around the temple along with several ornate objects from the adjacent museum. As transporting the original artifacts is a dangerous endeavor, museum staff requested 3D scans in order to create replicas that can be loaned to other museums.This research project was undertaken in collaboration with the Templo Mayor Museum. We would like to thank our partners at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) for the opportunity to assist with their work and our partners at Leica Geosystems and Artec 3D for lending equipment in support of the project.

CyArk scanning Templo Mayor in Mexico City by CyArkCyArk

Introducing Templo Mayor

Templo Mayor was one the principal temples of Tenochtitlan, the former capital of the Aztec empire. Built sometime after 1325 CE, the structure was dedicated to two Aztec deities, Huitzilopochtli the god of war and Tlaloc the god of rain and agriculture. The temple was surrounded by a serpent wall and the entire structure would have been brightly painted. Templo Mayor was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521 C.E. to make way for construction of a new cathedral. The ruins were buried and largely forgotten until their rediscovery in the 1970’s.

A Chacmool figure holding a bowl in the ruins of Templo Mayor in Mexico City by CyArkCyArk

Unearthing History in Mexico City

During the course of excavation at Templo Mayor a stone Chacmool figure was discovered.  First appearing in the Valley of Mexico in the 9th century, the Chacmool form depicts a reclining figure with its head facing 90 degrees from the front. The figure is usually supporting itself on its elbows while holding a bowl or a disk upon its stomach. These figures possibly symbolized slain warriors carrying offerings to the gods and the bowls upon the chest were used to hold sacrificial offerings.

Open Heritage 3D by CyArkCyArk

Data from this project is now freely available through Open Heritage 3D.

Download the data from this project.

About Open Heritage 3D

The mission of the Open Heritage 3D project is to:

● Provide open access to 3D cultural heritage datasets for education, research and other
non-commercial uses.

● Minimize the technical, financial and legal barriers for publishers of 3D heritage data.

● Promote discovery and re-use of datasets through standardized metadata and data formats.

● Foster community collaboration and knowledge sharing in the 3D cultural heritage community.

● Share best practices and methodologies for the capture, processing and storage of 3D cultural heritage data

Credits: Story

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This project was made possible through the following partners:

Templo Mayor Museum

National Institute of Anthropology and History

Leica Geosystems

Artec 3D

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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