Eduardo Matos Moctezuma
Eduardo Matos Moctezuma rose to the top of Mexican archaeological achievements when he directed the massive, multidisciplinary Templo Mayor Project (1978–2001), which excavated the Great Aztec Temple of the island capital of Tenochtitlan, next to the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Zócalo, Mexico City’s famous central plaza. His extraordinary ability to build a team of archaeologists, historians, physical anthropologists, art historians, biologists, botanists, restorers, and other specialists resulted in a series of stunning discoveries, productive symposia, and celebrated publications.
In addition to directing the excavation of the Aztec Templo Mayor, Matos has also worked at Comalcalco, Bonampak, Tepeapulco, Coacalco, Tlatelolco, Cholula, Teotihuacan, and Tula, and has served as President of the Archaeology Council, Director of Pre-Hispanic Monuments, Director of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology, and Director of the National Museum of Anthropology, among other important positions in Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History. He holds a master’s degree from the National School of Anthropology and History and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, as well as an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Colorado.
He has participated in more than a thousand conferences in Mexico and throughout the world, and has received several major honors and awards, including Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Knight in the Order of Academic Palms), Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (Knight of the National Order of Merit), and Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters) from the French Government, the Order of Andrés Bello from Venezuela, the Benito Juárez Medal from the Mexican Society of Geography and Statistics, the inaugural H. B. Nicholson Award for Excellence in Mesoamerican Studies (2002) from Harvard University, and prestigious memberships in the German Institute of Archaeology, the Archaeological Institute of America, the London Society of Antiquaries, and the Mexican Academy of History.
Matos has published over five hundred articles, exhibition catalogues, and monographs, including Muerte a filo de obsidiana: Los nahuas frente a la muerte (Death by Obsidian Blade: Nahuas Facing Death, 1975), The Aztecs (1989), Teotihuacan, the City of the Gods (1990), Life and Death in the Templo Mayor (1995), Breaking Through Mexico’s Past: Digging the Aztecs with Eduardo Matos Moctezuma (with Davíd Carrasco and Leonardo López Luján, 2007), and Mexica Monumental Sculpture (with Leonardo López Luján, 2009), leading to his election to Mexico’s Colegio Nacional, the equivalent of being named a national treasure. From 1979 to the present, he has guided and worked with Davíd Carrasco in setting the research and publishing agenda of the Moses Mesoamerican Archive.