January 31, 2005

Bloody Aztecs

New finds from an archaeological site near Mexico City support certain written and pictorial evidence concerning Aztec human sacrifice that historians previously doubted because the accounts seemed too exaggerated to be true.

The discovery adds to the growing collection of evidence supporting human sacrifice and cannibalism among the founders of the Mexican empire . . .

Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés (1485-1547), whose men conquered the Aztecs in 1519, wrote in a letter that his soldiers had captured an Aztec man who had roasted a baby at breakfast time.

While it probably would be impossible to validate that specific account, the Aztec site at Ecatepec, north of Mexico City, has just yielded the remains of eight children whom the Aztecs likely sacrificed.

Read the rest here. It wasn't that long ago that many anthropologists argued that cannibalism, worldwide, was more fiction than fact. Looks like the evidence has caught up with them.

Posted by David on January 31, 2005 10:49 PM


Archaeology will set us free.

I've read bunches of the cannibalism deniers. They have different explanations for what they think the cannibalism tradition was (demonization of the "other," projection, etc.) but they almost always got to the "there's no evidence" point. I hope that if I were an anthropologist or historian of early societies *I* would have learned that the absence of evidence, besides being a really stupid argument, is liable to change when someone digs things up.

My personal favorite isn't the bitter truth about the Aztecs (you really had to deny that everyone was wrong, including the Aztec's pictures, to believe that one) but the discoverey of butchering marks on child bones in ancient Crete. Hah, hah! The Cretans weren't peaceful, they were MONSTERS! That's why they didn't need walls. Hah, hah!

Pardon me for gloating :)

Posted by: Michael Tinkler on February 1, 2005 7:13 AM

I'm sure the apologists for "the noble savage" will have some political correction for the facts. If you notice, the very end of the article indicated that the dead were eaten as a mark of respect and that it was an efficient way of disposing of remains in rocky hard terrain.

I expect, as the incontrovertible evidence mounts, the denial mounts too. After all we are living in a world where people deny that men walked on the moon, that the Holocaust ever happened and that elections are rigged. As people limit themselves more and more to incoming "facts" that fit their preconceptions (neo-Lysenkoism), denial turns into dogmatism.

Posted by: Sarah on February 1, 2005 2:48 PM

I believe that human sacrifice was not only a question of cruelty. We cannot understand this; and this is necessary...we now that human sacrifice are useless and a very bad thing; from the point of view of our science and our religion. But we have to understand that many of this action were practiced from a lot of culture all around the world; catholic people often demonize ancient american cultures, but they don't understand that romans were more brutal and cruel; they killed more gladiators in the Colosseumn than aztecs in all there sacrifice; they killed 1 million of people in France, ( probably never happended in all the ancient american history), but they don't demonize romans! Why? Because without romans, our western-christian civilizations shouldn't exist!

Posted by: Anonymous on March 6, 2005 8:56 AM

Hey Alfredo, The Romans weren't fluffy bunnies, but at least they didn't eat their victims. The Aztecs undoubtedly did.

Posted by: doug in colorado on August 29, 2006 11:18 AM

Some accounts say that on one day the Aztecs sacrificed 14,000 people. And that the rows of people to be sacrificed stretched back for 2 miles.

Unfreaking believable. The scale of the evil of Aztec society is unimaginable.

Also to say that the Aztecs ate their victims because of a lack of protein is stupid. They were a smart industrious people capable of great architectural and scientific achievements. If they'd have wanted to they could have developed more sophisticated forms of agriculture and farming.

The ugly truth is they liked evil, they fed off fear and evil, they enjoyed being peverse.

The Spanish were some of the bravest and most noble people to go into that region and sort them out.

Posted by: Anthropologist on January 23, 2007 9:58 PM
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