Beating Hearts - Museum of Anthropology | Day 343 of my 2023 Journal


Carlos was our guide to the Museum of Anthropology, and he was a good storyteller and a balanced representative of his culture, proud but not patriotic.

We learned more about the Mayans and the Aztecs, adding to the pool of chaotic fragments we started in Playa when we visited the ruins there. At the same time, we learned some facts about Mexico City. Surprisingly, it is sinking into the mud built on by HALF A METER per year! Please don’t buy a place on the ground floor; it will be far down the basement before your kids grow up.

This is Crazy.

We also learned there was an earthquake just a few hours before we arrived. And that Uber prices are double when it rains.

Well. Of course, the ancient cultures were more interesting.

Here, we got to see the treasures from the sites, the altar stones, the sun calendar, the human sacrifice heart basins (!), the amazing sculptures, pottery, jewelry, and weaponry. The most surprising thing was how little gold was left. The display of the largest collection of Aztec gold was just so very tiny. The rest is now gone. Melted. Became gold in Europe. Maybe some of it is even in my wedding band? Somehow, I would like to think so.

Fragment stories.


My grandmother had a sculpture from Mexico called Montezuma’s Revenge; it looked very much like the one in the close-up here. It was a treasure to her. I am not sure if I have it or if my brother has it now.

The centerpiece of the calendar wheel is gone because American soldiers used it as a target practice at a party after winning the American-Mexican war.

Humans are stupid (not a fragment story, just a fact)

Mayans and Aztecs used skull de-formation as a symbol of power. Many died from the “treatment” done to newborns, squeezing their skulls into the wanted shape. The skull to the right in the picture is of a 5-7-year-old boy, who most likely died from brain damage and/or the breathing problems he got from this "treatment."

Humans are stupid. Just saying.

But they are also great. We are in it together. Now we have the museums to preserve the treasures from the past and great people like Carlos to share the stories, and we can only hope we all learn from the past. A very interesting past, and we are grateful to learn more about it.

Oh! I titled this “Beating Hearts” because the Aztecs’ human sacrifice took out the still beating heart of 52 humans EVERY DAY (according to our guide)! Head and heart were offered to the gods; the rest ended in the soup.

Humans are not just stupid. They are also scary. 

With love


Cecilie Conrad

Thank you for reading
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