Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco were built almost at the same time, in 1325 and 1337 AD, respectively, but Tlatelolco was founded by dissident Mexicas who decided to move to the north of Tenochtitlan, where a commercial empire would raise. 

This was explained by archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma in his article “Tenochtitlan y Tlatelolco. De Cronistas, Viajeros y Arqueologos” (Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco. Of Chronists, Voyagers and Archaeologists), included in the recent volume of Arqueologia Mexicana.

The researcher, who is Emeritus Professor of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) explains in his text that since their foundation, both cities had rivalry that ended in 1473, when tlatoani Axayacatl conquered Tlatelolco.

The 99th volume of the bimonthly publication was presented at the 21st International Anthropology and History Book Fair (FLAH), where Matos Moctezuma commented that apparently, Tenochtitlan was founded 12 years before Tlatelolco, city formed by Mexicas that wanted to be ruled by their own governor. “But they were so near it must have been difficult to know the limits between them”.

In the volume named “From Chronicle to Archaeology. View of Five Prehispanic Cities”, the founder of Templo Mayor Archaeological Project refers to the inaccuracy of the Mexico-Tenochtitlan map attributed to Hernan Cortes, published in 1524.

“The document remarks Tenochtitlan main square and its buildings, among them, Templo Mayor (Main Temple), which was placed facing orient, while it really was facing west”.

About chronicles and contemporary archaeology at Templo Mayor, the archaeologist explained that serpents at its main façade still keep some color, “when its discovery was registered, it reminded me of Duran Codex, where the two serpents’ encounter is represented”.

The Arqueologia Mexicana volume presents the vision of ancient chroniclers, travelers and archaeologists that discovered Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco, Cempoala, Tzintzuntzan, Mitla and Merida in 3 different historic ages: after the conquest, during the Colony and in 20th century archaeological explorations.

Historian Miguel Leon-Portilla, archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and Dr. Nelly Robles collaborate in this number, among other specialists.

Enrique Vela, editor of the publication, explained that the Prehispanic cities recounted where chosen based on presence of one or more chroniclers, travelers and archaeologists, adding that “it was illustrated with 16th century documents, as well as photographs and contemporary archaeological work.”