For more than 500 years, the Mayans sacrificed boys (5 photos)

Category: Archeology, PEGI 0+
17 June 2024

Chichen Itza in Mexico is a popular tourist attraction, attracting approximately two million tourists from around the world each year. However, the destroyed city hides a terrible secret: about 1000 years ago, the Mayans committed ritual murders of children here.

Radiocarbon dating of the remains showed that the victims were boys aged 3 to 6 years, and often they were twins.

Children were brutally killed with knives, spears and axes, and their remains were thrown into the “chultun” - an underground chamber.

Pyramid of Kukulcan

The study was conducted by a team from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

The Mayans considered the blood of victims a powerful source of nutrition for their gods, and in return they asked for rain and fertile fields. In Chichen Itza, stone slabs - tzompantli - with images of the skulls of the dead have been preserved.

Tzompantli - wall of skulls

In 1967, the remains of more than 100 small children were found in a chultun near the Sacred Cenote. Such underground structures were considered a link with the world of the dead.

As part of the new study, scientists conducted genetic analysis to determine the sex of the buried. Previously it was believed that the victims were young girls. However, the 64 people studied were boys, including two pairs of monozygotic twins.

Relief from the Great Ballpark at Chichen Itza depicting a sacrifice by beheading

25% of the children were close relatives. Moreover, they had the same diet. This suggests that the Mayans deliberately chose victims from the same family.

Twins are especially "blessed" in Mayan mythology, and the sacrifice of twins is a central theme of the sacred book of the Popol Vuh.

The blood rituals continued for more than 500 years, from 600 to 1100 AD. e.

Tzompantli was used to display the skulls of prisoners or victims of rituals

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