The grisly results were discovered during the restoration of a building in Mexico City and are believed to be part of a five-meter “skull” in a sanctuary of the Aztec god of the sun, war, and human sacrifice.
Hundreds of human heads have already been unearthed at the site, first discovered three years ago.
The 119 new skulls are believed to be part of the Huei Tzompantli – a set of skulls that once scared the Spanish conquistadors when they captured the city in the 15th century.
The remains are more likely to belong to captured warriors while others could have been killed in ritual sacrifices to appease the gods, according to the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Archaeologist Barrera Rodriguez said: “While we cannot determine how many of these individuals were warriors, some may have been captives set aside for sacrificial ceremonies. ”
More than 650 skulls have now been found at the site, located in the area of the Templo Mayor, one of the main temples in the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, which later became Mexico City.
The find is now described as “one of the most important archaeological finds in the country in years” by Mexican authorities.
Culture Minister Alejandra Frausto said in a statement: “At every step, the Templo Mayor continues to surprise us.
“The Huei Tzompantli is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive archaeological finds in our country in recent years. ”
Three phases of construction of the tower, which dates back to between 1486 and 1502, have been identified by archaeologists.
The Aztecs and other Mesoamerican peoples performed ritual human sacrifices as offerings to the sun and allegedly considered the spooky tower “a building of life rather than of death,” experts say.
When the site was first discovered in 2017, Rodrigo Bolanos, a biological anthropologist, said: “We were only expecting men, obviously young men, like warriors would be, and the problem with women and kids, you’d think I’m not going to war.
“Something is happening that we have no trace of, and it’s really new, a first in Huei Tzompantli. ”
In Mesoamerica, human sacrifice was seen as a way to ensure the survival of the universe and has been documented in ancient cultures throughout history.
In a typical ritual, the victims were taken to the highest point of the temple to be sacrificed where four priests placed them on a stone slab.
The abdomen would be slit open by a fifth priest using a ceremonial flint knife to open the chest, before the priest tears their still beating heart.
It would then be placed in a bowl held by a statue of the honored god, before the victim’s body was thrown down the stairs that landed at the base of the pyramid.