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Image Gallery: Human Sacrifices Unearthed in Mexico

Barren field

(Image credit: Christopher Morehart)

In 2007, archaeologist Christopher Morehart was using satellite imagery to map the irrigation canals and waterways surrounding the ancient city of Teotihuacan, in Mexico. There, he discovered a pile of skulls that may represent one of the largest human sacrifice sites in Mesoamerica. [Read the full story on the human sacrifices discovered in Mexico]

Drained lake

(Image credit: Christopher Morehart)

The researchers began investigating a region about 15 miles from the ancient city that had once housed a vast lake called Lake Xaltocan. [Read the full story on the human sacrifices discovered in Mexico]

Looted site

(Image credit: Christopher Morehart)

The team noticed evidence of looting and began excavating. When they dug further, they found a shocking discovery. [Read the full story on the human sacrifices discovered in Mexico]

Shocking discovery

excavations

(Image credit: Christopher Morehart)

The site contained dozens of skulls lined up, all severed at the first or second vertebrae. [Read the full story on the human sacrifices discovered in Mexico]

Pile of skulls

(Image credit: Christopher Morehart)

The site also contained a shrine with several artifacts associated with agricultural culture. [Read the full story on the human sacrifices discovered in Mexico]

Mass death

(Image credit: Christopher Morehart)

The combination of artifacts and human remains led the researchers to conclude that a mass human sacrifice occurred at the site. [Read the full story on the human sacrifices discovered in Mexico]

Ancient incense

incense burner

(Image credit: Christopher Morehart)

Carbon dating of the skulls and a nearby incense burner led the team to conclude the skulls date to between 600 to 850 A.D., around the time of Teotihuacan's fall.

Many victims

knife

(Image credit: Christopher Morehart)

So far, the team has excavated over 150 skulls. (The researchers chose not display the skulls because the sacrificed people may have historic ties to people of today's indigenous cultures.) [Read the full story on the human sacrifices discovered in Mexico]

Water god

(Image credit: Christopher Morehart)

An artifact depicting Tlaloc, an ancient water god from the Pre-Columbian period in Mexico, was found at the human sacrifice site at Lake Xaltocan. [Read the full story on the human sacrifices discovered in Mexico]

Rural culture

ancient pots

(Image credit: Christopher Morehart)

Because of its rural locale, the sacrifice event is markedly different from others in the region, which typically took place in the great pyramids of large cities. [Read the full story on the human sacrifices discovered in Mexico]

Chaotic time

meso-american-pots

(Image credit: Christopher Morehart)

The sacrifice likely occurred during a time of great upheaval, when the Teotihuacan culture was declining. [Read the full story on the human sacrifices discovered in Mexico]