Documenting the Archaeological Complex of Templo Mayor

CyArk Partners with the Templo Mayor Museum to Scan Aztec Artifacts

by Kacey Hadick
March 22, 2016

After documenting the American cemetery in Mexico City, CyArk had the opportunity to record the site of Templo Mayor, an active excavation, located just miles away in the historic center of Mexico City.  One of the principal temples of Tenochtitlan, the former capital of the Aztec empire, Templo Mayor was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521 and the ruins were buried and largely forgotten until their rediscovery in the 1970’s.

CyArk offered its assistance to site conservators who were recording some of the more fragile artifacts located around the temple along with several of the more ornate objects from the museum. As transporting the original artifacts is a dangerous endeavor, museum staff requested 3D scans in order to create replicas that can be loaned to other museums. It was exciting to work with the Templo mayor conservation team who was passionate about their heritage and enthusiastic about the opportunity to use new technology that will ensure this heritage continues to be available for centuries to come. This project was undertaken as research and development in collaboration with the Templo mayor museum. We would like to thank our partners at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) for the opportunity to assist with their work and our partners at Leica Geosystems and Artec 3D for lending equipment in support of the project. 

If you would like to see CyArk preserve more Mexican heritage we encourage you to consider donating to our efforts or nominating a site to our CyArk 500 List.

Temple mayor ruins with main Mexico City cathedral visible in background.
(Left to Right) Ross Davison, CyArk Field manager; Scott Lee, CyArk Director of Operations; Enrique Vázquez, Restoration department photographer and Diana Medellín Martínez, Head of Restoration Department for the Templo Mayor Museum pose in front of two serpent head statues which exhibit their original pigmentation.
Performing a structured light scan of the Guerrero Aguila or eagle warrior statue.