Aztec Rulers Sacrificed Members Of Their Staff, Study
Scientists have long thought that Aztecs sacrificed prisoners of war at the Great Temple of Tenochtitlán after every war so that they could please their gods. Yet, some new research shows that even people they were close to, such as their staff, were sacrificed, according to the Daily Mail.
The research is sourced from an analysis of the findings of people sacrificed between 1469 and 1521 that showed that everyone was not sourced from the conquered lands. Many of them lived with the Aztecs in the Valley of Mexico.
Earlier, scientists thought that only those taken as war victims were sacrificed at the Aztec's temple, especially as the Mexicans reigned over Tenochtitlán. Yet, some of the sacrificial remains point to people living with the Mexicas for over six years, according to Fox News Latino.
"There was this general idea that sacrifices were mostly the result of wars, people taken from the populations gradually conquered," said archaeologist Alan Barrera, who conducted the research.
Bone samples taken from the skulls and teeth of six people sacrificed at the temple were analysed. They exhibited a wall of carved skulls. Scientists used strontium isotope analysis to arrive at the origin of the dead persons.
The results showed that the Aztecs sacrificed not only imprisoned warriors but also "captives to be servants for the elite", ie those who were in service of elite Aztecs. Not just warriors, but also women, children and elderly were sacrificed.
This practice is seen as the main reason as to why the Aztecs faced defeat. Their neighbors allied with Spanish colonizers and attack their empire.