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Archaeologist Ximena Chávez Balderas on the sacred animals of Tenochtitlan

  • Mexican Cultural Institute 2829 16th Street Northwest Washington, DC, 20009 United States (map)

Join the Mexican Cultural Institute as it presents Archaeologist Ximena Chávez Balderas for a lecture on the exotic animals disinterred at the Tenochtitlan archaeological site.

Since 1978, the Templo Mayor Project has discovered a biological treasure with no precedents in Mesoamerica. The remains of thousands of organisms - sponges, echinoderms, corals, mollusks, arthropods, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals - have been found in 165 offerings discovered in the archaeological site. 

In this lecture, Chávez Balderas will address the extraordinary biological diversity found in the ritual deposits of the Great Temple, as well as the history of archaeological findings at the site. She will present recent discoveries found in the last five years and how they contribute to the understanding of captivity, animal symbolism, sacrifice and ritual use.

Ximena Chávez Balderas is a bioarchaeologist at the Templo Mayor Project. She is specialized in funerary archaeology, sacrificial practices, mortuary treatments and archaeozoology. She earned her BA from the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia. Her MPhil was awarded by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and her MA by Tulane University. She is a PhD candidate at Tulane University, was the main curator of the Templo Mayor Museum between 2001 and 2007, and is currently a Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks.

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