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Video transcript

[Music] we're in Mexico City in the Museum of the temple my or that is the Museum of the primary temple of the Aztec capital and we're looking at one of the most recent finds this is an image of the earth Lord this is the monolith of 12 - Coulee the earth Lord who could be male or female the monolith that we're seeing here is showing 12 acutely of female and this is the largest Aztec monolith found to date it's about 14 feet tall and it's showing topically very symmetrically its relief carving it would have been seen flat the way that we're seeing it and in fact is some speculation that it would have been used as a cover for the tomb of an Aztec ruler what we do know is that it did cover a cache of ritual objects that had been interred and these include an eagle skeletons and wore jewelry this extraordinary finds the Aztec emperor that we think may have been associated with this monolith or perhaps buried underneath it is the Aztec emperor a weed subtle the reason for that is there's a date glyphs on this monolith which corresponds with the date that this ruler would have passed away you can see that date glyphs between the claws of the figures right foot this is an incredibly aggressive representation which in this very large space with wild curly hair and there are is enormous talons on both the feet and the hands besides the curly hair she has these really large ear spools these decorative earring elements associated with the elite her mouth is open and defleshed and there's a stream of blood flowing into her mouth let me unpack a little bit of that gas --tx did in fact pierce their ears and then the elite would use increasingly large ear spools to widen and create these very elaborate earrings or what now in the 21st century we might know as earplugs she's almost skeletal she's almost like a skull we can see those teeth but we see no lips although we do have flesh for her nose and then the consuming of this river of blood is one of the most unnerving things and I think it's quite extraordinary because it almost looks like flame she is May kid from her waist up we see that she has breasts and rolls of skin indicating that she had given birth to children she's a mother and in fact she's in a squat which is a representation of childbirth and that's really interesting because she's wearing a skirt that has skull and crossbones on it which for us has negative connotations but for the Aztecs there were greater meanings Billy ated with the skull and crossbones and in this instance that she's wearing a skirt is something that we often see associated with midwives or fertility so it relates to life-giving properties is it celestial aspect here too because if we look very closely at the middle part of the skirt we can see a reference to the celestial sphere what is sometimes referred to as a star band and below that we see tassels that are made out of braided snake that end in the rattles of rattlesnakes and even rows of feathers so elements associated with preciousness as well I'm really quite taken with the fact that her knees and elbows have skulls these monstrous forms these are typically called monster joints and we actually see these types of joints on a lot of other deities affiliated with the earth or deities associated with say this class of dangerous women called the DTM ma who also had relationships with midwives and fertility she is the earth she is the surface of the earth this earth Lord and associated with this spectacular myth where every evening when the Sun set she devoured it at that point the Sun had to travel through the underworld engaging in battle and then twelth acutally would expel the Sun every day would allow the Sun to rise in the morning and journey across the sky we know these myths from 16th century Spanish sources but it's so exciting we had archaeologists are now uncovering representations of the gods that enact them [Music]