Human Sacrifice

Sites where some evidence of possible human sacrifce has been found (as opposed to mere rumour, conjecture, myth).

Connected Sites

Site Rationale Link
Arslantepe Mound A "royal" cist grave was found on the margins of the tell, with very rich funerary gifts (...). On top of the cist grave, 4 adolescents were probably sacrificed, constituting one of the earliest evidences of a human sacrifice. (Nomination Text, p. 27)
Cahokia Mounds "Archeologists recovered more than 250 other skeletons from Mound 72. Scholars believe almost 62% of these were sacrificial victims, based on signs of ritual execution, method of burial, and other factors" (wiki)
Caral-Supe The body of a ca. 23 year old male was found under the ceremonial room, possibly a case of human sacrifice
Carthage The "Tophet" Cemetery - The remains of many children have been found which might indicate (as the Romans claimed) evidence of the Phoenician practice of child sacrifice or, alternatively, just a child cemetery.
Chan Chan ... She was most likely sacrificed, was hung and thrown over one of the citadel's high walls and then buried alive....
Chichen-Itza There are several locations which appear to be related to Human sacrifice - In particular the "Cenote Sagrado" - from which numerous skeltons have been retrieved.
Chief Roi Mata's Domain "The mass sacrificial burial on Artok Island, in which Roi Mata was accompanied in death by more that 50 voluntarily sacrificed individuals" (Nomination Dossier)
El Tajin A relief panel from the south ballcourt of El Tajin, Veracruz showing two players holding down and extracting the heart of a third player. A skeletal figure rises from a pot on the left side.
Gaya Tumuli Jisan-dong Tumuli “Human sacrifices are also found in these tombs for top leaders.” - Supplemental Information from State Party submitted to ICOMOS “The most prominent case of human bone research is the Lady Songhyeon project. A skeleton found during the process of excavating Tomb No. 15 at the Gyo-dong and Songhyeon-dong Tumuli was retrieved, recorded, and analyzed through collaboration among specialists from diverse disciplines. It provided valuable information on this teenage girl sacrificed at the tomb. A recreation of the girl was produced using this information and is currently being displayed at the Changnyeong Museum.” - Supplemental Information from State Party submitted to ICOMOS
Gyeongju The Great Tomb of Hwangnam, "Excavations have found that a man was interred in the northern mound and a woman in the southern mound. The man's burial chamber contained remains of a yound woman believed to have been buried for her master. Hence the tomb is assumed to have been made before King Jijeong (reign 500-515) banned sacrificial burials." Unesco World Heritage of South Korea (2011, pg 88)
Mexico City and Xochimilco Templo Mayor: Ten Spanish captives were sacrificed at the Temple and their severed heads were thrown back to the Spaniards. (Wiki) Objects associated with human sacrifice are the ?face blades? or knives decorated with eyes and teeth, as well as skull masks.
Papahanaumokuakea Oral histories suggest that ceremonies involving human sacrifice had been conducted at the heiau, although there is no concrete archaeological evidence for this (Nom file))
Paquimé "the people of Paquimé may also have engaged in the sacrifice of human beings, as Di Peso and colleagues (1974: vol. 8) classified nine individuals as human sacrifices and implied that five others may have served as “offerings” in an elite burial tomb." and "most of the sacrificial victims were non-locals" (Offenbecker)
Qhapaq Ñan Children of Llullaillaco
Royal Palaces of Abomey Described in 1864 first-hand by Richard Burton in "A mission to Gelele King of Dahome with notices of the so called "Amazons", the grand customs, the yearly customs, the human sacrifices, the present state of the slave trade and the negro's place in nature.
Santa Ana de los Rios de Cuenca Pumapongo: Uhle uncovered the skeleton of a man ... evidence of the pre-Columbian custom of burying a man alive in the foundation of a new wall to give it strength (Moon guidebook)
Teotihuacan Bodies of what appear to be sacrificial victims have been found within the Temple of the Moon.
Vat Phou Crocodile Stone "may have been used as an altar to perform an annual human sacrifice"
Yin Xu "Five of the pits contained the remains of a human sacrifice (four adult males and one child)."


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  5. Be explained, with reference to a source