“Mexico and Spain must strengthen their relations even more”: Eduardo Matos Moctezuma

The Mexican archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma was recognized this Wednesday in Spain with the Princess of Asturias Award 2022in the category of social Sciences.

The award jury convened by the Princess of Asturias Foundation – heir to the Spanish throne – recognized the 81-year-old researcher for his “intellectual rigor (…) to reconstruct the civilizations of Mexico and Mesoamerica, and to ensure that said heritage is incorporated objectively and free of any myth.”

The “senior archaeologist”, as his colleagues refer to him, sent a message to the award foundation in which he states: “The Princess of Asturias Award for Social Sciences It is a high honor for me that I am very grateful for. Mexico and Spain are sister countries that are linked by indissoluble ties and should strengthen their relations even more. This award fills me with pride and the names of my teachers come to my memory, who trained me in the field of anthropology and, in particular, archaeology”.

“Penetrate the past to bring it to the present has been the work that I have constantly carried out throughout my life. Today I see with great satisfaction the fruits of that task, which allowed me to learn about our own history and how it was united with the history of other countries such as Spain, adds the researcher emeritus of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.

Matos Moctezuma has spent 44 years reconstructing the Mexica face with tiny tesserae, since he undertook in 1978 the direction of the excavations of the Templo Mayor, the sacred precinct of Tenochtitlan.

The announcement was followed by expressions of joy and congratulations from the Ministry of Culture, the INAH, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and the institutions of which it is a part. “A congratulations and an enthusiastic greeting to my dear teacher, Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, for having been deserving of the Princess of Asturias Award 2022 in Social Sciences, awarded by the Government of Spain“, wrote Diego PrietoCEO of INAH.

For his part, the archaeologist Leonardo Lopez Lujandisciple and colleague of Matos Moctezumaexpressed for The Economist: “With the Princess of Asturias Awardmy teacher Eduardo Matos Moctezuma a brilliant professional career is crowned, a whole life dedicated to archeology and the history of Mexico. This recognition speaks to us of its planetary scale and its universal legacy, of a multifaceted work that has to do with research but also with the conservation of cultural heritage, with the teaching of our past but also with the dissemination of our present and the training of future generations.

Edward, founder of Main Temple Project in 1978, has laid the very firm foundations of a vigorous scientific community that I now have the fortune and the enormous responsibility to lead. In 44 years of work in the historic center of Mexico City and under the initial impulse of Matos, we have managed to have this exceptional space declared World Heritage by unesco and that one of the most important archaeological sites and museums in the cultural circuit of this country be opened to the public there. All of us at Templo Mayor are pleased with this achievement: Eduardo, whom we love and admire so much, illuminates us with his radiance”, adds López Luján.

Eduardo Matos Moctezuma is a researcher emeritus of the INAH, emeritus also of the Mexican Culture SeminarMember of The National Collegeand only on April 28 was incorporated —along with Leonardo Lopez Lujan— as an honorary member of the American Academy of Sciences and Arts. A professorship of Harvard University bears his name.

The archaeologist Matos Moctezuma thanked the UNAM, and its rector Henry GrayYet the Mexican Academy of Languageand its director Gonzalo Celoriohaving proposed it for the Princess of Asturias Award.

The award will be presented in October by the Princess of Asturias, Leonor, and King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, at a ceremony to be held in Oviedo, the venue for the award.

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