Archaeology CSUMB archaeology.csumb at gmail.com
Wed May 21 16:19:47 UTC 2008


     In several recent publications, including those published in Vera
Tiesler and Andrea Cucina's *New Perspectives on Human Sacrifice and Ritual
Body Treatments in Ancient Maya Society* (Springer Press, 2007), and my own
paper on "Aztec Militarism and Blood Sacrifice: The Archaeology and Ideology
of Ritual Violence" published in the Richard J. Chacon and Rubén G. Mendoza
edition of *Latin American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence* (Arizona
Press, 2007), discussions devolve from treatments of the forensic evidence
now available for such considerations.  In the "Aztec Militarism" paper I
review extant osteological and blood serum analyses and procedures, and
those sites now associated with mass burials.  Among these latter, the sites
of Tlatelolco and Cantona have resulted in the recovery of disarticulated,
decapitated, and "pot polished" human remains accounting for upwards of two
to three hundred individuals in each case.  Interestingly, in each instance,
the bodies were buried beneath the lime plastered courtyards at each site.
In the region of Tlaxcala, Garcia Cook has documented bone yards and kill
sites with men, women, and children numbering into the hundreds...replete
with ritual offerings.  At the site of Toluquilla, Queretaro, archaeologists
chanced upon the recovery of some 50 decapitated human heads recovered from
within the mortared platform at one end of one of the ballcourts at that
site...and indicated that many more heads were contained therein, but
conservation considerations led to the decision to leave the remaining 50 or
more decapitated heads in their original matrix of lime mortar.  In another
recent paper titled "The Divine Gourd Tree: Tzompantli Skull Racks,
Decapitation Rituals, and Human Trophies in Ancient Mesoamerica," published
in the Richard J. Chacon and David H. Dye edition of The Taking and
Displaying of Human Body Parts as Trophies by Amerindians (Springer Press,
2007), I document a host of sources for the massing of decapitated human
heads in sites from throughout Mesoamerica and beyond.  While many continue
to dispute the head count from the Huey tzompantli of Mexico-Tenochtitlan,
many of those who contest this number neglect to consider that the Huey
teocalli or Templo Mayor itself was in turn examined for human trophies, and
counts at the time of the initial entrada of the Spaniards tallied a total
head count for decapitated heads mortared into the facades of the Huey
teocalli at over 60,000...and that does not include all of the many
decomposed heads that were regularly, and systematically, cleared from the
Huey tzompantli on an ongoing basis.  So, given the growing mountain of
evidence for blood tribute centered on social violence taking the form of
ritual decapitation and dismemberment, and anthropophagy, I do believe it
would be much harder to make the case that the numbers fall below those
projected from selected sites documented by the Spanish at contact.  Adding
to this debate recent finds from Zultepec, Mexico, where the tzompantli's of
that site were found to bear the heads of decapitated Spaniards, including a
few European women and Mestizos, it is clear that this was standard practice
in the empire of the Sun.  When we add to this scenario the body count from
Zultepec, including some 550 Spaniards, Indian allies, Mestizos, Mulattos,
and Africans, documented both archaeologically, and by way of Spanish
accounts...it is clear that the pattern was widespread, and that the
Spanish, while maintaining agendas and propagandistic narratives, were
nevertheless able to count the dead among them with a fair degree of

Best Regards, Ruben Mendoza

On Wed, May 21, 2008 at 5:14 AM, Wm. Clay Poe <poe at sonoma.edu> wrote:

>  Quicklime (CaO) is produced by heating Calcium carbonate (CaCO3), to
> about
> 700 degrees centigrade at which point the CaCO3 dissociates into CaO and
> CO2. When the CaO is slaked, mixed with water, it hydrates and becomes
> Calcium hydroxide, Ca(OH)2. Over time the Calcium hydroxide absorbs CO2
> from
> the atmosphere and becomes, once again, Calcium carbonate. This process
> takes a very long time to complete and gives rise to comments about the
> superior hardness of Roman cement. You just need to give it a couple of
> thousand years.
> Human bone is mostly Calcium phosphate. Only about 7% is Calcium carbonate.
> Human bone would not be a good choice for the source of quicklime.
> Regards,
> Bill
> Wm. Clay Poe, Ph.D., RPA
> Professor of Archaeology
> Sonoma State University
> Rohnert Park, CA 94928
> (707) 480-9251
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Greg Sandor [mailto:gregory_sandor at hotmail.com<gregory_sandor at hotmail.com>]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 10:04 AM
> To: David Becraft; MICHAEL RUGGERI; aztlan at lists.famsi.org;
> nahuatl at lists.famsi.org
> Is there a way to determine from the chemical composition of lime in mortar
> whether it was made from human bones?
> Regards,
> Greg
> (614) 517-7204
> greg at gregsandor.com
> http://www.gregsandor.com
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "David Becraft" <david_becraft at hotmail.com>
> To: "MICHAEL RUGGERI" <michaelruggeri at mac.com>; <aztlan at lists.famsi.org>;
> <nahuatl at lists.famsi.org>
> Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 11:52 AM
> Listeros,
> I may have missed it, but I am curious about archaeological evidence
> supporting the mass sacrifice of humans from 2,000 years ago to 1521.  Have
> there been any major archaeological findings that have uncovered the number
> of people sacrificed?  I assume it must be in the hundreds of thousands, or
> maybe millions.  I know that there have been some mass graves of 45 or so,
> but has the number ever been higher than a thousand?
> Pancho
> ----------------------------------------
> > Date: Tue, 20 May 2008 00:07:07 -0700
> > From: michaelruggeri at mac.com
> > To: aztlan at lists.famsi.org
> >
> >
> >
> > Listeros.
> >
> > 4000 year old human remains have been uncovered at the most ancient urban
> > area in the New World, Bandurria, in Peru. They are sacrificed
> > individuals. Parts of skeletons were found of 3 people. One had been
> > decapitated.
> >
> > Living in Peru has the story here;
> >
> http://www.livinginperu.com/news-6483-artculturehistory-human-sacrifice-rema
> ins-found-peru-archaeological-site
> >
> >
> > Mike Ruggeri
> >
> >
> > Mike Ruggeri's Andean Archaeology News and Links
> >
> http://community-2.webtv.net/Topiltzin-2091/MikeRuggerisAndean/index.html
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> >
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