April 12, 2007

Sacrificies that look like Pre-Colombian America

Aztecs preferred variety:

Ancient Mexicans brought human sacrifice victims from hundreds of miles (km) away over centuries to sanctify a pyramid in the oldest city in North America, an archeologist said on Wednesday.

DNA tests on the skeletons of more than 50 victims discovered in 2004 in the Pyramid of the Moon at the Teotihuacan ruins revealed they were from far away Mayan, Pacific or Atlantic coastal cultures.

The bodies, many of which were decapitated, dated from between 50 AD and 500 AD and were killed at different times to dedicate new stages of construction of the pyramid just north of Mexico City.

The victims were likely either captured in war or obtained through some kind of diplomacy, said archeologist Ruben Cabrera, who led the excavation at the pyramid, the smaller of two main pyramids are Teotihuacan, which housed some 200,000 inhabitants at its height of power around 500 AD.

"Teotihuacan may have had a tradition of capturing prisoners for sacrifice," said Cabrera.

Which reminds me--I should probably recommend Conrad & Demarest's book Religion & Empire, which has a wonderful discussion of the implications (conjectures, mostly) of the Aztec's sacrificial cults on the long term viability of their state...

Posted by Ideofact at April 12, 2007 12:30 AM