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A total of 23 pre-Columbian stone plaques dating back approximately 550 years, with carvings illustrating such Aztec myths as the birth of the god of war Huitzilopochtli, were discovered by archaeologists in front of the Great Temple of Tenochtitlan in downtown Mexico City, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.
Bas-relief sculptures on slabs of tezontle (volcanic rock) relate the mythological origins of the ancient Mexica culture through representations of serpents, captives, ornaments, warriors and other figures, the INAH said in a statement.
The pre-Columbian remains are of great archaeological value because this is the first time such pieces have been found within the sacred grounds of Tenochtitlan and can be read "as an iconographic document narrating certain myths of that ancient civilization," archaeologist Raul Barrera said.
The tiles on average measure 50 centimeters by 40 centimeters (19 by 16 inches).
Archeologists discovered the carvings in late 2011 near a circular platform decorated with serpent heads that was discovered in September 2011, the INAH said.
Experts are still trying to determine if markings that appear on some of the carvings refer to dates on the Aztec calendar, said archeologist Lorena Vazquez.
Tenochtitlan, founded around 1325, was built on an island in a shallow lake.
Spanish conquistadors stormed Tenochtitlan with their native allies in 1521, leveled the city, then built what is now Mexico City on top of it.
The remains of the main temple were discovered in mid 20th century, but a full excavation did not get under way until the 1980s.