Human-sacrifice rituals at an ancient Moche temple in Peru likely featured the killing of war captives from distant valleys, according to an analysis of bones and teeth at the site.
The human remains—mutilated, dismembered, and buried in pits—help explain territorial struggles among the Moche, who ruled Peru’s arid coast from around 100 A.D. to 850 A.D.
Debate among scholars over Moche human sacrifices has centered on the question of whether they were ritual killings of elites or of war prisoners, says archaeologist John Verano of Tulane University in New Orleans, one of the authors of the report, available online and in an upcoming issue of Journal of Archaeological Science. Read more.
A newly discovered temple complex in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, reveals hints of a specialized hierarchy of priests — who may have committed human sacrifice.
The evidence of such sacrifice is far from conclusive, but researchers did uncover a human tooth and part of what may be a human limb bone from a temple room scattered with animal sacrifice remains and obsidian blades. The temple dates back to 300 B.C. or so, when it was in use by the Zapotec civilization of what is now Oaxaca.
Archaeologists have been excavating a site in the valley called El Palenque for years. The site is the center of what was once an independent mini-state. Between 1997 and 2000, the researchers found and studied the remains of a 9,150-square-foot (850 square meters) palace complex complete with a plaza on the north side of the site. Read more.
Human sacrifices are the most infamous feature of ancient South American societies, but little was actually known about the victims? New research published in The American Journal of Physical Anthropology explores archaeological evidence from Peru, dating to the Late Horizon era between 1450 and 1532 A.D., to tell us more about the individuals who met their fate.
Evidence from bone collagen to hair keratin was used to examine where the sacrificial victims lived in the decade prior to their death, as well as their diets in the months leading up to the fatal ritual.
This study investigated two key variables—residential and subsistence—among sacrificial victims dating to the Late Horizon (A.D. 1450–1532) in the Huaca de los Sacrificios at the Chotuna-Chornancap Archaeological Complex in north coastal Peru. Read more.
Archaeologists have unearthed a trove of skulls in Mexico that may have once belonged to human sacrifice victims. The skulls, which date between A.D. 600 and 850, may also shatter existing notions about the ancient culture of the area.
The find, described in the January issue of the journal Latin American Antiquity, was located in an otherwise empty field that once held a vast lake, but was miles from the nearest major city of the day, said study co-author Christopher Morehart, an archaeologist at Georgia State University.
"It’s absolutely remarkable to think about this little nothing on the landscape having potentially evidence of the largest mass human sacrifice in ancient Meso-America," Morehart said. Read more.
Archeological research of pagan graves in the valley Þegjandadalur in Suður-Þingeyjasýsla county in northeast Iceland support the theory that ritual human sacrifice was practiced during paganism in Iceland.
An L-shaped turf wall was discovered in Þegjandadalur, which is believed to have been constructed before Icelanders converted to Christianity in 1000 AD, Morgunblaðið reports.
In a large hole in the wall fractions of a human skull were found, a jawbone of a cat and various other animal bones, including a sheep jawbone and a several cattle bones.
In a small grave up against the turf wall bones of a newborn baby in their original resting place were discovered.
The discovery was reported on in the journal of Urðarbrunnur, the science association at Laugar in the rural district Þingeyjarsveit. Read more.
Archaeologists have unearthed remains of 42 children and 74 llamas and related animals that were sacrificed some 800 years ago in the fishing town of Huanchaquito, Peru.
The remains were from a massive sacrifice that formed part of a religious ceremony of the pre-Inca Chimu culture for the fertility of the ocean and the land, Reuters reported.
Oscar Gabriel Prieto, chief archaeologist on the dig, said the findings represent the largest discovery of sacrifices from the Chimu culture.
LIMA: The pre Inca culture “Chimu” developed in the northern Peruvian coast practiced human sacrifices evident in the 800-year old remains of 33 children and teenagers found in the area.
The human remains were found along with those of 63 llamas (Andean camels) also ritually sacrificed in the northern La Libertad region, near Trujillo City, 570 kilometers from Peru’s capital, sources said.
The archaeologist in charge of the finding, Gabriel Prieto said the remains of the victims, from six to eight years old, have a horizontal incision in the breastbone. This is according to investigations carried out by forensic anthropologist Katia Valladares.
The incision was made to take out the heart of those sacrificed who were still alive, said the experts, who added that the macabre ritual is similar to those practiced by the Maya tribes in Central America and the Aztecs in Mexico. (source)
PREHISTORIC human remains, believed to be the result of a human sacrifice, have been found on Bord na Móna land in Co Laois.
The significant find has been described as “very exciting” by the National Museum of Ireland.
Initial examinations indicate it could be a woman’s body.
The museum said the find was one of very few bog bodies discovered in situ, which meant not only the remains but its intact environment could be studied.
Speaking at the site, Ned Kelly, keeper at the museum’s Irish antiquities division, said there had been over 100 bog bodies found in Ireland, but many were not well preserved and some were just parts of bodies removed from their sites and found inside milling machines.
“At present we can see a pair of legs, which are quite well preserved, probably the best preserved part of the body,” he said. “On preliminary examination we can be reasonably certain that it is a late prehistoric bog body.” Read more.