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SoA Lecture Series: Dr. Leonardo López Luján, INAH


Dec 2 2021 - 2:00pm

Thursday, December 2, 2021
2:00 p.m.

Via Zoom

Title: Archaeology of Tenochtitlan: Unearthing the Aztec Great Temple

Abstract: The Proyecto Templo Mayor of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia was created in 1978, as a consequence of the discovery of a monolith depicting Coyolxauhqui, the Aztec moon goddess. Since then, other impressive public monuments have come to light in downtown Mexico City, in the area occupied by the sacred precinct of Tenochtitlan. Archaeologists recently uncovered the largest Aztec sculpture ever found, that of the earth goddess Tlaltecuhtli. After an overview on the history of archaeology in Mexico City, this lecture will focus on the new Tlaltecuhtli stone, undertaking a formal, iconographic, and symbolic analysis to unveil its functions and meanings. The exceptionally rich offerings buried under this sculpture will also be described. Finally, the possible presence of a royal tomb at the foot of the Great Temple will be discussed.

Bio: Leonardo López Luján is a Mexican archaeologist and the current director of the Proyecto Templo Mayor of INAH. He holds a doctorate from Université de Paris Nanterre. He specializes in the politics, religion, and art of Pre-Columbian urban societies in Central Mexico and in the history of archaeology. Throughout his academic life, he has served as a visiting professor at Université de Paris Sorbonne, Sapienza-Università di Roma, École Pratique des Hautes Études, and the Francisco Marroquín University of Guatemala. He has been a guest researcher at such institutions as Princeton, the Musée du quai Branly, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Institut d’Études Avancées de Paris. Since 1988, he has been a full-time researcher at INAH. In recent years, he was elected member of the Academia Mexicana de la Historia, member of El Colegio Nacional, correspondent member of the British Academy, honorary member of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He received the Shanghai Forum Archaeology Award as the director of one of the ten best archaeological research programs in the world in 2013-2015.


For more information, contact: Dr. Linda Green (
or Catherine Lehman (

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