An 85 centimeters long ceramic sculpture with the effigy of Mexica deity Xipe Totec, 4 human burials with osseous rests and 2 offerings were found in a plot next to Tula Archaeological Zone, in Hidalgo. The first representation found of the masculine deity in Hidalgo has been preliminary dated between 900 and 1150 AD.

Specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) conduct the rescue of Prehispanic materials found at Iturbe Blvd., in the city of Tula, a few meters away from the perimeter fence of the archaeological site.

Archaeologist Luis Gamboa Cabezas, from Hidalgo INAH Center, who directs the archaeological rescue, remarked that the relevance of this finding lies in the fact of being this the first Xipe Totec sculpture in a Tolteca context. The area where it was located might have been a potters’ neighborhood.

The conservation state of the ceramic sculpture is good: “it is complete although part of the face is fractured and one arm unattached. It was found in a horizontal position at the foot of the staircase of a structure that functioned as a residence”.

This deity represented masculine fertility and sacrifice. “Xipe Totec means in Nahuatl Our lord the flayed one, and is represented by a standing individual with sandals and loincloth, long hair and holes in the earlobes. A granular texture on the skin symbolizes putrefaction”.
INAH authorities have temporarily shot down the drainage work conducted by the owners of the plot where the finding took place, where archaeologists work according to the corresponding excavation guidelines.

“The drainage work was closed to conduct rescue, proceeding to carefully excavate two 4 by 4 square meter areas down to 80 centimeters depth. It was in the first one where the sculpture was found, and the second where osseous rests and offerings were located”, he recalled.

Gamboa mentioned that few Xipe Totec representations have been found in Mexico, although its cult diffused all over Mesoamerica. There are 2 sculptures in the Museum of Apazco, Estado de Mexico, and one in Templo Mayor Museum, being the last the greatest, reaching 1.5 meters height. The recently found one is the first located in the Tolteca capital.

Regarding the osseous rests, 4 skeletons were recovered, which presumably correspond to adult individuals; they were oriented towards the east and placed in fetal position. Apparently they go back to the same period than the sculpture.

All archaeological material recovered was moved to the Tula Archaeological Zone laboratories, were it will be registered and analyzed.