David Carrasco

Harvard Travels to Mexico – Part Four

Part Four.  After several days of visiting historic sites and listening to scholars well-versed in Mexican history, we joined with a large audience from the local community to hear Diana Magaloni present the Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Lecture before heading home, filled with memories and knowledge of our time away.

Diana Magaloni’s lecture at the Museo de Antropologia e Historia was the centerpiece of the entire trip. Entitled “El Códice Florentino y la Creatión del Nuevo Mundo (The Florentine Codex and the Creation of the New World” the lecture displayed Professor Magaloni’s profound knowledge of the Florentine Codex and included stunning new insights into the pictorial strategies of the native painters to retell the encounter between Cortes and Moctezuma II.

Photos courtesy of Ryan Christopher Jones.

David Carrasco

Harvard Travels to Mexico – Part Three

Part Three.  The imagery and artistic talent of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera is widely known, and we were privileged to visit remarkable examples of their work, including their home, La Casa Azul.

Mexican Art by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera was at the center of our third day. Our tour began in Chapultepec Park at the Cárcamo de Dolores where a monument to the control of the Lerma River by Mexican scientists presents two of Rivera’s creations. An outdoor sculpture of Tlaloc and the interior mural “Agua, el origen de la vida” (Water, source of life) focused our attention and awe. Professor María Luisa Parra guided us through Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul later in the day.

Photos courtesy of Ryan Christopher Jones.

David Carrasco

Harvard Travels to Mexico – Part Two

Part Two.  The Templo Mayor captured our attention and imagination as we visited with Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and saw the results of decades of excavation that continues to reveal the past.

Harvard visitors to the Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Catedra continued the tour prepared by Professor Davíd Carrasco with a visit to downtown Mexico City, arriving at the Zocalo in spite of large protests nearby. After some time spent in the Cathedral, we met Professor Matos at the entrance to the Templo Mayor for a tour of architecture, artifacts, and ofrendas in the current excavation. The evening brought us together at the home of Jose Antonio Alonso and his wife Karen Beckmann for a lovely dinner celebrating Dr. Diana Magaloni, scheduled to present the lecture on the following evening.

Photos courtesy of Ryan Christopher Jones.

David Carrasco

Harvard Travels to Mexico – Part One

On the occasion of the 3rd Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Catedra, held on October 8, 2019 in Mexico City, a group headed out from Harvard at the invitation of Davíd Carrasco, director of the Moses Mesoamerican Archive. The purpose was to educate ourselves about various stages of Mexican history and to visit places where history was made and cultural beginnings took shape.  We invite you to enjoy a glimpse of the highlights of this trip through a series of four slideshows.

Part One.  The journey began by traveling to Teotihuacan, the ancient archeological complex which was once a flourishing pre-Columbian city.

First stop for the travelers from Harvard was Teotihuacan, the City of the Gods. Besides being inspired by the Sun and Moon pyramids, we were welcomed by the Mexican Arqueólogo Sergio Gómez Chávez. Sergio discovered and directed the excavation of the fabulous ritual tunnel forty feet below the surface of the Ciudadela. We were privileged to descend into the tunnel and witness the amazing excavation and some of its most impressive discoveries. Later we also visited the museum, an ancient apartment compound, and the new excavation where evidence of Maya occupation has animated new scholarship.

Photos courtesy of Ryan Christopher Jones.

Eduardo Matos

Templo Mayor

Dear Colleagues and Watchers of Mesoamerica

Our second video clip from “Harvard in Mexico” shows us visiting the Great Aztec Temple site where Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and Leonardo Lopez Lujangreet and teach us. See Dean David Hempton of the Harvard Divinity School arriving at the edge of the Great Temple with others and then descend into the archaeological site where EduardoMatos Moctezuma explains the basic cosmovision of the Aztec capital with visuals to illustrate the dualism and four quartered city. Leonardo Lopez Lujan meets us at the underground dig of an earlierstage of the Great Aztec Temple and points John Philip Santos and others toward sacred offerings.

David Carrasco

The Life and Three Voices of Carlos Fuentes

David Carrasco gave the Alfonso Reyes Lecture “The Life and Three Voices of Carlos Fuentes” at Tecnologia de Monterrey University. Here he appears before a photo of Carlos Fuentes, Toni Morrison, Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and friends at the home of Carlos and Sylvia Lemus in 1995.

Eduardo Matos Moctezuma

Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Lecture Series

In 2017 Harvard inaugurated the Eduardo Matos Moctezuma lecture series, the first time in Harvard’s history that a lecture series has honored a Mexican. Watch this video to join the celebration of the exemplary careers of Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and his friend Alfredo López Austin who gave the 2018 lecture.

This short, powerful video taken at the Museo Nacional de Antropología e História in Mexico City shows clips of the night Alfredo gave his terrific lecture “El Día que Salío el Sol: Trece Pasos y un Canto”. See Matos, David Carrasco and especially Maestro Alfredo speaking, being honored on stage and then adored by his young students, admirers and colleagues while signing autographs.

This event was sponsored by the Moses Mesoamerican Archive, the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the Divinity School at Harvard University. Video by Joseph Tovares.

Carrasco Library of Congress

PBS TV series Native America

David Carrasco Jim Enote David Carrasco Jim Enote

David Carrasco with Zuni farmer, scholar and river guide Jim Enote at the launch for PBS TV series “Native America” at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Los Angeles. Enote and Carrasco are featured in several of the four episodes that will air starting October 23rd.

Carrasco Library of Congress

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead – We’re live on a special tour of the Day of the Dead exhibit at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology with HDS Professor Davíd Carrasco.

Conferencia Inaugural de la Cátedra Eduardo Matos Moctezuma de la Universidad de Harvard

La Universidad de Harvard ha establecido la Cátedra Eduardo Matos Moctezuma (The Eduardo Matos Moctezuma Lecture Series), la primera en casi 400 años de historia de la universidad en honor de un mexicano. La conferencia inaugural de la Cátedra Matos Moctezuma tendrá lugar el martes 3 de octubre, a las 19:00 horas, en el Auditorio Jaime Torres Bodet del Museo Nacional de Antropología. Se contará con la presencia de autoridades e investigadores de Harvard: Mark Elliott, Vice-director de Asuntos Internacionales; Mark Schwartz, Profesor de Historia de Asia y China; Brian Farrell, Director del David Rockefeller para Estudios Latinoamericanos y profesor de Biología Organísmica y Evolutiva; David Hempton, Decano de la Facultad de Teología; Alonzo L. McDonald Family, Profesor de Estudios Teológicos Evangélicos; John Lord O’Brian, Profesor de Teología; así como autoridades del INAH: Diego Prieto, Director General; Antonio Saborit, Director del Museo Nacional de Antropología, y Patricia Ledesma, Directora del Museo del Templo Mayor.

Carrasco Library of Congress


Welcome back to the Mesoamerican Archive blog. You will recall our first blog consisted of the ‘chispa’ or spark of the Archive’s research conferences as Davíd Carrasco’s gave some introductory remarks at the 1979 conference “Center and Periphery and the Aztec Empire”.  Now we move to the ‘fire’ of our collaborative research as we hear an excerpt of Eduardo Matos Moctezuma’s initial interpretation at the conference on the Aztec pattern of ‘archetype and repetition’.   Listen as Mexico’s greatest living archaeologist describes how the amazing discoveries of the monumental Coyolxauhqui stone, the serpent heads adorning ceremonial platforms, and the vertical and horizontal symmetry of the Templo Mayor led him and his colleagues to elaborate on how the Aztec myth of the birth of the solar deity Huitzilopochtli was replicated in material form at the Templo Mayor.   Matos shows in clear detail how Hutizilpochtli’s mythical destruction of Coyolxauhqui and the centzon huitznahua, representing the moon and the stars, was materially represented in remarkable detail at the excavation which was still in an early stage. Many of you won’t need the accompanying translation by a member of the department of Spanish who was just then learning about the names and meanings of Aztec myth and architecture.

Carrasco Library of Congress


Welcome to the Moses Mesoamerican Archive Blog. Each month we will present our viewers and listeners with a significant historical moment in the 35 year history of our collaborative work. This first blog entry is a recording, accompanied by photographs, that narrates the initial chispa, or spark, for the Archive, created by the meeting of Eduardo Matos Moctezuma and David Carrasco at the excavation of the Templo Mayor in 1979. Carrasco outlines how an existential moment in his development combined with an intellectual exchange led to the first Mesoamerican Archive 1979 conference entitled “Center & Periphery and the Aztec Empire”. This is a clear statement of how the disciplines of the history of religions and archaeology combined to form the academic and social program of the Archive that has produced new knowledge about Aztec urbanism and Mesoamerica’s history of religions. Enjoy and take note!


Exploring the Ancient City of Teotihuacan

Professor Davíd Carrasco has been to “the place where the gods were created.” That’s what the Aztecs called the monumental capital city of Teotihuacan centuries after its fall.

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Tunnel Beneath

Treasures from the Underworld of the City of the Gods:

Archaeological Explorations in the Tunnel Beneath the Temple of the Feathered Serpent

Archaeologist Sergio Gómez Chávez, Director of the Tlalocan Project, National Institute of Anthropology and History, Teotihuacan, Mexico

Come hear Archaeologist Sergio Gómez Chávez, one of Mexico’s leading young archaeologists, share the news about the stunning discoveries in the City of the Gods/Teotihuacan, Mexico. Below the ceremonial floor of the great plaza of the Feathered Serpent, his archaeological team found an immense ritual tunnel. For ten years they have worked in excavating this ancient and mysterious tunnel, using high-tech robots as well as their own hands to unearth over 50,000 ritual objects buried by Teotihuacan’s priests and rulers for reasons that are not yet known. Professor Gómez will present slides of the excavation never before seen in the United States.

Sponsored by David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Moses Mesoamerican Archive, Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, and Harvard Divinity School.

Free and open to the public Tuesday, October 6, 2015 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.

CGIS South (1730 Cambridge Street), Room S030 on the Concourse Level


Davíd Carrasco’s The Aztecs: A Very Short Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012) has just been published in German as Die Azteken, translated by Ulrich Bossier (Stuttgart: Philipp Reclam, 2015). See also the Spanish edition: Los aztecas: Una breve introducción, translated by Javier Alonso López (Madrid: Alianza, 2103).


Today we initiate our “Latest News” page of the Moses Mesoamerican Archive Website by announcing that we are highlighting the very important study of the House of the Eagles at the site of the Great Aztec Temple. Published in 2006, Leonardo López Luján’s two-volume La Casa de las Águilas: Un ejemplo de la arquitectura religiosa de Tenochtitlan was supported by the Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project at Harvard University, as well as by the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia of Mexico. It is another good example of how the collaboration between Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, Davíd Carrasco, and Leonardo López Luján resulted in a significant advance in our understanding of the Aztec world.

Davíd Carrasco
Director, Moses Mesoamerican Archive
Harvard University