Experts have discovered on the archaeological site of Tlatelolco in the Mexican capital the skull of a decapitated individual and a vessel, both from about 500 years ago, the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.

In a communique, the INAH said the small offering was found at the foot of the Great Temple on the pre-Columbian site after a custodian reported "what appeared to be a buried vessel."

Archaeologist Salvador Guilliem, director of the Tlatelolco Project, said the skull, found on top of the vessel, was from a young adult male, "very probably a prisoner of war."

He said the discovery comes during the first phase of archaeological exploration, so it has not been possible to determine the dimensions of the offering, which could have been placed there as part of the rituals to prepare the grounds the temple was to occupy.

Both items were located at a level related to the construction of the Great Temple, around 1500 to 1515 A.D.

"We're marking off the area to see if the offering consisted exclusively of the skull and vessel, or whether there are more remains involved," Guilliem said.

Paola Silva, in charge of maintenance of the archaeological site, said the small offering is the 34th to be found, and that great care must be taken with the work of exploration to avoid losing valuable historical data. 

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