Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Oldest Temple in Mexican Valley Hints at Possible Human Sacrifice

Archaeologists figure out the layout of a temple building at El Palenque. A staircase from the public plaza (right) led to the temple's front hall. The temple's inner room is a step higher than the main entrance.

  

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.

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