Forensic documents / 2013

As part of an investigation project in Teotihuacan, I track the trails on the deceases that occurred in the last years, in the mythical city of gods., a land related, since the beginning, to blood consecration as a vital cycle of existence, where the deaths still show themeselves. It is as if today´s individuals had to pay a fee, asked by gods, in order to continue with the existence of this holy city in the present. Moments of violence, death and sacrifice are kept within this holy space, where the act of taking away life or dying, so common in Mexico´s history, is transcended  into a sort of cosmic cycle, as metaphor of universe´s renovation.

Up to know, Teotihuacan´s history remains an enigma. For the Mexicas, it was a holy place where the gods, through auto sacrifice, created the sun, the moon and the inhabitants (Chimalpopoca Codex). By means of the rebuilding of its vestiges and investigations made by Leopoldo Batres (1906), Manuel Gamio (1917), or Saburo Sugiyama (2004), it was discovered that execution of human sacrifice in Teotihuacan, was, apparently, an offering to the monumental constructions of the city, that is to say, to the work of construction.  The beheading, dismember and the infanticide, were executed at the beggining of the constructions  of new temples, altars and communal buildings. Several rituals of human sacrifice were registered through mural paintings in Teotihuacan, wich points out the presence and importance they hade for the inhabitants of this city. For example, in the Pyramid of the Moon, there were found various burials related to human sacrifice. A man seated, with his hands bundled on his back, with two felines, a canine,  a snake,  and birds of prey,  stands out. Meanwhile, in the Pyramid of the Sun, child burials dedicated to the monument, were found in each of the corners of the terraced body. The human offreing -beheading, heart removal and dismember of bodies- to Gods and the monuments in the city is meaningful.

After an active life during more than 400 years, the city was destroyed and this event is still subjected to different hypothesis. However, once the city was razed to the ground, it is said that it was used by other human settlements, where once again, violence and the death was present in the said vestiges. Sugiyama states that there is still a lot to investigate and learn in Teotihuacan, but as a conclusion he points out that "victims- from different ages and sex, and belonging to different social classes and ideological categories-, were selected, sacrificed and  buried by the leaders, based on the meaning and the functions of the monuments, as we can see in recent studies."

Trough my investigations in the city, I´ve found the death of individuals, from children, men and women both in the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon, and the avenue of the Death, incluiding other spaces within the city. Almost as a forensic photographer, I research and track the area where the death took place; once I´ve found it, I register the area. Falls, cardiac arrest, suicide, hear attacks and inexpicable deaths, incarnate the cycle of constant renovation in wich the city finds itself through its more than two milleniums of existence.

Paradoxically, as the city emerges from between  the silence of the stones, and the more it is its museum -structure a center of knowledge and resurgence  of the past, its architecture becomes a threatening rick area, that collects the dissastified blood thirst of the Gods of the past.

Humberto Ríos