Cambridge, MA – Harvard University had the honor of welcoming Professor Eduardo Matos Moctezuma last Tuesday, April 10, 2018, to deliver the lecture “Eduardo Matos Moctezuma discovers himself: Excavations of the Great Aztec Temple”. This was carried out at 6:00 p.m. in the Geological Conferences Room, located at 24 Oxford Street, in Cambridge.
This is the first conference that takes place on campus as part of the five-year Conferences Series by Eduardo Matos Moctezuma; The inaugural lecture of the series was delivered at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City last October and was covered extensively by the press. With the series of conferences Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, Harvard seeks to celebrate the excellence of Mexican archeology and history and aims to build and strengthen the existing links of education and research with Mexico. In the coming years, other world-renowned experts will be chosen in Pre-Hispanic Mexico to give Matos Moctezuma’s lectures in Mexico City in the fall and Harvard in the spring.
The series of conferences Eduardo Matos Moctezuma was possible thanks to the generosity of José Antonio Alonso Espinosa and the initiative of David Carrasco, Neil L. Rudenstine, professor of the Study of Latin America in the Department of Anthropology and Harvard Divinity School. This is the first series that bears the name of a Mexican in the nearly 400-year history of Harvard. It is the product of almost four decades of close collaboration between Professors Matos and Carrasco in the excavation and research projects around the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan. The Series of Conferences arises from collaboration between the David Rockefeller Center for the Latin American Studies offices in Cambridge and Mexico City, the Harvard School of Theology and the Mesoamerican Moses Research and Archive Project.
The conference this April was hosted by the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. A live broadcast was available on the Facebook page of the Harvard Museum of Science and Culture. As a prelude to Professor Matos Moctezuma’s lecture, program attendees were invited to a special presentation at the Ocarinas of the Americas exhibition room, located on the 3rd floor of the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. The musician and anthropologist José Cuellar, who was in charge of the exhibition of these ocarinas, spoke about this collection of indigenous instruments that figured prominently in the rituals of pre-Hispanic societies, including the Aztecs and the Mayas. The exhibition will remain open to the public until June.
The day after the conference, on April 11, David Hempton, Dean of the Harvard Divinity School and professors Carrasco and Matos presented a painting by the famous Mexican-American artist George Yepes, in charge of honoring Professor Matos and symbolizing the series of conferences.
The painting, “Águila Guerrera”, is inspired by images related to the work of Matos in the Templo Mayor. An original copy of the painting was presented to Matos as a gift during the inaugural October conference in Mexico. The original painting was acquired by Harvard Divinity School and was unveiled during a ceremony in which George Yepes himself was introduced in the Andover Hall of the aforementioned school, located at 45 Francis Avenue at 2:00 pm.
“Last year, the School of Theology celebrated the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, and next year (2019) the School will remember a more significant 500th Anniversary for the future of religion and culture in the Americas, that is, the beginning of the “great encounter” between the Spaniards and the Aztecs in Mexico, “said David N. Hempton, Dean of the Harvard Divinity School.
“This painting symbolizes the scientific and cultural discoveries that Eduardo Matos Moctezuma has meticulously discovered, which has led to the development of new knowledge about a flourishing Aztec civilization before the arrival of the Spanish in 1519. We are excited and honored to be able to show the painting Here at Harvard Divinity School, the brilliant work of George Yepes, in addition to the inauguration of a new and important series of conferences, celebrates our growing ties with Mexico and Latin America, having this beautiful painting here reminds us of the importance of the connections we are making between our school and Mexican cultural institutions.
Eduardo Matos Moctezuma is considered a national treasure of Mexico and Professor Emeritus of the National School of Anthropology and History (ENAH) of Mexico City. He received a Master’s Degree in Anthropological Sciences from the ENAH and the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Starting in 1978, Professor Matos coordinated the Templo Mayor Project, which revolutionized the understanding of the religious and political character of the Aztec empire. He has taught at ENAH since 1968 and also teaches at the School of Restoration, Conservation, and Museology “Manuel Castillo Negrete”. He has been honored by universities and governments in Latin America, Asia, and Europe. Matos has given more than 1000 public lectures, and among his most outstanding books is Death to the Edge of Obsidian; Life and Death in the Templo Mayor; Teotihuacan: The City of the Gods; The Aztecs; The Great Temple of Tenochtitlan; The Prehispanic House; The Denied Stones; and Mexican Studies.