E-Mail: plourie@middlebury.edu


book jacket



Featured in MOSAIC 2007, an annual multicultural literature exhibit hosted by Lincoln (NE) Public Schools Library Media Services. The exhibit featured the best and most current multicultural titles from 2006-2007.


"Attractive book takes an objective look at the Aztecs. ...Nine highly pictorial chapters cover Aztec and Toltec history and the excavations that expand understanding of these civilizations. Lourie also outlines the process of archaeology and the methods used to uncover and preserve artifacts. ...The writing style is clear, informative, and interesting. The text features numerous observations made by archaeologist Leonardo López Luján, which are illuminating, especially concerning the blood sacrifice aspect of the Aztec religion. ...Verses of Aztec poetry being each chapter, presenting a more rounded look at a complex and sophisticated society. This sound volume...is especially good for viewing a culture as it is re-created through excavation."
—School Library Journal

"Unique photographs, brightly reproduced on crisp white pages. ...There are some interesting new bits here. For instance, Lujan insists that human sacrifice was not nearly so common as history as made it out to be. Report writers will need to go elsewhere for a full treatment of Aztec life, but this book brings it into the present."

"A generous array of big color photos range from pictures of modern cityscapes to huge preserved ancient structures, from vivid manuscript illustrations and stone carvings to engaging scenes of scientists engrossed in their careful work. Writing with contagious enthusiasm, the author will kindle in readers the same wonder he feels at the way clues to our shared past are being found in these places nearly every day."
—Kirkus Reviews




     In September 2002, I traveled to Mexico to the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan and into the Pyramid of the Moon to witness the first excavation ever done at the top of that great temple. The Mexican archaeologist Leonardo López Luján

took me to visit the Japanese archaeologist Saburo Sugiyama, the leader of the excavation.

     Teotihuacan was a great city a thousand years before the Aztecs built their city of Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City. The Aztecs revered the ancient culture and modeled their own city and much of their culture on the former empire. 

     Saburo Sugiyama's Teotihuacan website: Teotihuacan: The City of Gods

     In 2004, I returned to Mexico to the Great Temple in Mexico City where Leonardo Luján began new excavations.  More about the Great Temple:  Museo del Templo Mayor.

Spanish version of Museo del Templo Mayor site

How the cactus stone was unearthed

The story of the 'Porrúa Bookshop Stone' is a classic and exemplary case of how meticulous research, thousands of miles from 'home', led a leading archaeologist to make an exciting discovery.


Leonardo is seen here working in the new excavation at the Great Temple.