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The Aztecs &

Their Sun Stone

Randy H. Sooknanan

Art & History Writer


The Aztecs & Their Sun Stone

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The Aztec Sun Stone is a post-classic Mexica sculpture currently housed in the National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City. It is perhaps the most famous of works from Aztec sculpture. Its complex design and very intricate glyphic language reflect that the stone was the product of a highly sophisticated culture.

It consists of 3 separate corresponding calendars interlaced with 3 almanac systems, which are designed to be both linear, temporal and cyclical. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a doomsday clock as the Long Count glyphs portion on it actually repeat indefinitely. The Aztecs used the long count calendar to track the patterns of civilization and celestial movements to determine the future outlook of an upcoming generational cycle.

This 24-ton olivine basalt monolith measures over 3.60 meters across and is 122 centimeters thick. Its naturally greenish color, from the deposits of olivine, has faded due to element exposure. The Artifact was discovered in 1790.

Material: Basalt
Created: Sometime between 1502 and 1520
Discovered: 17 December 1790 at El Zócalo, Mexico City
Culture: Mexica
Period: Post-Classical
Location: Museo Nacional de Antropología (Mexico City)

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