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The Great City of Tenochtitlan by Diego Rivera (1945) The Raphael and Fletcher Lee Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project (MMARP), currently residing at Harvard University, is a collection of materials resulting from the activity of an interdisciplinary working group of scholars, which for more than forty years has met in a series of conferences and other events under the leadership of Davíd Carrasco.

This working group consists of leading specialists in Mesoamerican art, archaeology, history, anthropology, religion, and ecology, including Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, Leonardo López Luján, Johanna Broda, Anthony Aveni, Laura Filloy Nadal, Guilhem Olivier, Ethelia Ruiz Medrano, Elizabeth H. Boone, William L. Fash, Barbara Fash, Saburo Sugiyama, Robert Bye, Edelmira Linares, José Cuéllar, Robert Carlsen, Philip P. Arnold, Lawrence Desmond, Vincent Stanzione, Scott Sessions, and many others, in addition to Pedro Armillas, Paul Wheatley, John D. Hoag, Doris Heyden, H. B. Nicholson, Eleanor Wake, Charles H. Long, Lindsay Jones, and Alfredo López Austin who have since passed away.

Tlaloc vesselThis team led in the publication of The Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures (2001), and over thirty monographs in the “Mesoamerican Worlds” and “Religions of the Americas” series, as well as several edited volumes, including Aztec Ceremonial Landscapes (1991, 1999), Mesoamerica’s Classic Heritage: From Teotihuacan to the Aztecs (2000), and Cave, City, and Eagle’s Nest: An Interpretive Journey through the Mapa de Cuauhtinchan No. 2 (2007, 2010). Students and faculty at Harvard and other institutions in the US, Mexico, Europe, and Japan participate in these conferences and other events and make use of the MMARP’s research collections, especially in relation to courses and publications.

These collections include: (1) a photographic archive of the excavation of the Templo Mayor (Great Temple) in Mexico City from 1978 to the present, of past and ongoing archaeological work in Teotihuacan, of pre-Hispanic and colonial Mesoamerican pictorial codices, and of Mexica masterpieces and other artifacts from the Templo Mayor Museum and the National Museum of Anthropology; (2) an archive of audio, video, photographs, papers, and other materials related to the historic conferences and other gatherings of the working group conducted in Mexico, Colorado, Princeton, Harvard, and elsewhere; (3) an extensive file of academic articles relative to specific interpretive issues involved in the study of Mesoamerica; and (4) a library of key Mesoamerican monographs, edited volumes, facsimiles, and reference works managed by the MMARP’s coordinator Charlene Higbe, director Davíd Carrasco, and assistant director Scott Sessions.

The MMARP has a robust teaching, research, and publication life and serves as an educational resource for various events and exhibitions at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, including a Day of the Dead altar installed on the third floor and annual Día de los Muertos events throughout the museum.

The Great City of Tenochtitlan. Diego Rivera’s fabulous 1945 painted mural of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan-Tlatelolco appears in the National Palace on the Zócalo of Mexico City. It depicts the Mexica ruler Motecuhzoma Xocoyotzin (1466–1520) being carried through the imperial marketplace of Tlatelolco, whose twin-temple pyramid appears just above him to the left. Our eyes are drawn to his blue crown and royal fan, as traders, laborers, artisans, nobles, and a pleasure woman carry out their daily roles of keeping the society running smoothly. A straight and level causeway leads away from the scene toward the Templo Mayor in the main ceremonial center of Tenochtitlan with the snowcapped volcanoes of Popocatepetl (Smoking Mountain) and Iztaccihuatl (White Woman) in the background. Photo by Scott Sessions, MMARP.

Tlaloc vessel. This extradordinary polycrome ceramic depicting the rain god was uncovered in a buried offering at the Templo Mayor. Photo by Salvador Guilliem Arroyo, INAH.