Archaeologists, restorers and specialists rescued 2,250 pieces of wood in an extraordinary state of conservation at the foot of the Main Temple of the old Tenochtitlan, in Mexico. For their preservation, they had to develop innovative methodssince otherwise the wood disintegrated within a few hours of being recovered. Among the targets are darts, earrings, masks, jugs, and representations of flowers and bones.
All of these goals they were used as ritual deposits made by priests to consecrate a building or launch a petition to the Aztec gods. The work of the specialists is considered a real “feat”, since the objects, of plant origin, survived more than 500 years completely submerged in water.
As published The countrywhat allowed the incredible conservation of these offerings is the high and constant level of humiditythe low presence of oxygen, light and the minimal temperature fluctuations. However, the work team had to look for new techniques for the preservation of the objects outside that environment, since, they assured, without a detailed method, the pieces would fall apart within a few hours.
Therefore, for its conservation and stabilization, use synthetic sugars, such as lactitol and subsequently trehalose. This technique was used for the first time in Mexico in 2002 by the restorer Alejandra Alonso. In this way, it will be possible to preserve the elements so that they can be appreciated by future generations.
“A unique collection”
For the director of the Templo Mayor Project, the person in charge of developing these searches, Leonardo Lopez Lujanis about “a one-of-a-kind collection.”
“It is one of the richest in all of Mesoamerica. First, due to its state of conservation. These types of objects normally do not survive to this day, among other things, because this was an island surrounded by a lake. The conditions caused these objects to survive well over 500 years; another is the richness of the collection and the diversity”, he listed.
And I add: “On a symbolic level it is exceptional, because we are in the capital of the Mexica empire. The materials we have here are spectacular because we are in the heart of an empire. That explains, in part, why we have found not only wood, but rubber, flowers, crocodiles, starfish. It is a unique place in the sense that you have three superimposed capitals”.
What López Lujan was referring to is Mexico, the capital of 21 million inhabitants. Then, the capital of New Spain, with 170 thousand inhabitants. Finally, further down, Tenochtitlan, with some 200,000 inhabitants. “We are excavating in a privileged place such as Jerusalem, Istanbul; Alexandria, in Egypt or Rome itself, ”said the specialist.