Temple Dedicated to Xipe Totec Discovered in Central Mexico
Thursday, January 3, 2019


This lecture will explore the rise of Hatshepsut--king’s daughter, king’s sister, king’s wife—who ultimately became pharaoh of Egypt.  Declaring herself as the offspring of Egypt’s supreme deity, she seized control of one of the ancient world’s greatest kingdoms. 

New Thoughts on Neolithic Artifacts From England

​Monday, January 28, 2019

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO—According to a BBC News report, a temple dedicated to the god Xipe Totec has been discovered in central Mexico at the site of Ndachjian-Tehuacan by a team of National Institute of Anthropology and History archaeologists. Xipe Totec, god of fertility and regeneration, is usually depicted wearing sandals, a loincloth, and the skin of a sacrificed human. The site is thought to have been constructed by the Popolocas between A.D. 1000 and 1260, before they were conquered by the Aztecs.

LONDON, ENGLAND—The Folkton Drums, a set of 4,000-year-old decorated chalk cylinders discovered more than 100 years ago in a child’s grave in northern England, and a similar carved chalk cylinder recovered more recently near England’s southern coast, may have been replicas of wooden measuring devices employed by Neolithic monument builders, according to a Live Science report.

Anne Teather and Andrew Chamberlain of the University of Manchester and Mike Parker Pearson of University College London determined that the circumferences of the objects were based on the “long foot,” or about 12.7 inches—a standard length found in the concentric circles of standing stones and timber posts in Neolithic monuments. Winding a string around each of the different-sized drums various numbers of times, the researchers were able to produce measurements of exactly ten long feet.

The various sizes of the drums may have come into play when fractions of the measure were needed, Teather suggested. “Another explanation is that the drums were instructional teaching aids that would have been used to demonstrate some of the principles of mathematics and geometry,” she said. For more on Neolithic England, go to “The Square Inside Avebury’s Circles.”

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Worship of Xipe Totec later spread throughout Mesoamerica. Accounts of rituals dedicated to the god suggest people were sacrificed through combat or shot with arrows on one platform, and then skinned on another platform, which conforms to the layout of the newly discovered temple. Priests are then said to have worn the skins in rituals. Sculptures found in the temple include two large skull-like figures carved from imported volcanic stone, and a torso measuring about 31 inches long. A right hand is shown hanging from the figure’s left arm, perhaps representing the skin of a sacrificed person. The written sources also say a green stone would have been placed in a hole in the statue’s belly during ceremonies. To read in-depth about archaeology in Mexico City, go to “Under Mexico City.”

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Christianne Henry is an independent scholar in the field of Egyptology with a Masters Degree from the Johns Hopkins University. She attended the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Institut für Ägyptologie, in Munich, Germany, taking graduate courses in Egyptology. Her undergraduate degrees include a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies/Egyptology from Johns Hopkins University, and a B.A. in French Studies from Towson University. 

As Head of the Library at the Walter’s Museum, Henry has extensive experience with all aspects of preparing materials for exhibition and producing the museum’s publications.  Her many visits to Egypt have given her a unique perspective on Egyptian history.  She recently taught an OLLI course on Egypt’s significant queens. 

February 23, 2019
​​Christianne Henry,
formerly of the Walter's Art Museum, Baltimore​

Hatshepsut:  Daughter of Amun-Re, Pharaoh of Egypt


PORTUGAL: The wreck of a 400-year-old Portuguese ship dating to the golden age of the European spice trade was located near the mouth of the Tagus River, 15 miles west of Lisbon. The ship appears to have sunk after returning from India with its cargo of valuable spices and Asian artifacts. During a preliminary survey of the wreck site, divers documented peppercorns, 9 bronze cannons engraved with the Portuguese coat of arms, Chinese porcelain from the Wanli period (1573–1620), and cowrie shells, which were often used as currency.


To promote archaeological inquiry and public understanding of the material record of the human past to foster an appreciation of diverse cultures and our shared humanity.

FLORIDA: A long-lost shrine dedicated to Nuestra Señora de La Leche y Buen Parto at the Mission Nombre de Dios in St. Augustine may finally have been located. The important religious structure was built by Governor de Hita y Salazar in 1677 and damaged by a British attack in 1702. It was eventually rebuilt nearby. During the 1950s, a local priest who was also an amateur archaeologist rediscovered the original building’s foundations, but they were quickly reburied and the location was forgotten for decades.


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