On this day…
On this day, in 1790: Aztec calendar stone is discovered.
The Aztec calendar stone is a large monolithic sculpture that was excavated in the Zócalo, Mexico City’s main square, on December 17, 1790. It was discovered whilst Mexico City Cathedral was being repaired. The stone is around 12 feet (3.7 m) across and weighs about 24 tons.
The exact purpose and meaning of the stone is unclear. However archaeologists and historians have proposed a number of theories and it seems likely that there are many aspects to the stone.
Mexican anthropologist Antonio de León y Gama remarked that the Sun Stone showed that the Aztecs had knowledge of geometry to be able to carve the stone symmetrically and it showed they also had knowledge of mechanics to be able to move the stone from its quarry to its final destination.
Despite being known as a “calendar stone,” modern archaeologists believe it is more likely to have been used primarily as a ceremonial basin or ritual altar for gladiatorial sacrifices, than as an astrological or astronomical reference.