Interpreting the Evidence
Aztec Calendar Stone, 1886
Suggested Teaching Instructions
The Aztec Calendar Stone, also called Stone of the Sun, Mexico City. Photograph taken in 1886.
The Sun Stone was carved during the 1400s and took over fifty years to carve. It is twelve feet in diameter, three feet thick, and originally weighed almost twenty-five tons. In the center is the face of Tonatiuh, the sun god to whom the stone is dedicated. The tongue is sticking out to show that the god wants to be fed with blood and human hearts. The Sun Stone was buried when the Spaniards conquered the city of Tenochtitlan. It was found under the central plaza in Mexico City when repairs were being made on the cathedral there.
How does geography influence the development of culture?
Check for Understanding
Describe the object in the photograph and explain how geography contributed to the creation of this object.
The Sun Stone was originally placed on the main temple in the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. It faced south and was painted bright red, blue, yellow, and white. Research what parts of the Sun Stone were painted and make a small clay model of one section of the Sun Stone, painting it in its original colors.
Math: Find the circumference of the Sun Stone. It is divided into eight equal sections. What would be the length of the outer side of each section?
Science: The Aztecs used herbal medicines to relieve patients’ symptoms. Find out what herbs were used as remedies and what illnesses they relieved.
English Language Arts: Write a myth explaining why Aztecs believed that dead warriors returned as hummingbirds.