It is well-known that human sacrifice occupied a very important place in the history of Mesoamerican civilizations. However, despite this, experts were not sure to what extent human sacrifice developed within the ancient Aztec culture. 

“[Mexica priests] had an extremely impressive anatomical knowledge, which was passed down from generation to generation,” says archaeologist Chávez Balderas, in an article for Science.

“All premodern societies make some kind of offering,” said one of the researchers. “And in many societies, if not all, the most valuable sacrifice is human life.” However, the Aztecs took human sacrifice to the extreme.

Some Spanish conquistadors wrote about the tzompantli and its towers, suggesting that the rack alone contained 130,000 human skulls.

The capital city of the ancient Aztec empire was Tenochtitlan, a city whose history is the result of a mixture of historical facts and legends.

The legend of the foundation of the city suggests that Tenochtitlan was populated by a group of Nahua migrant tribes from Aztlán, a place whose precise location is unknown.

Now, experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) of Mexico studied hundreds of skulls discovered in Mexico City, where the sacred city Tenochtitlan lies.

The Aztecs believed that human sacrifices fed the gods and ensured the perpetuity of humanity.


The journal Science published an update on the research on the key sacrifice rituals for the spiritual world of the Aztec people, which was carried out through the study of skulls found in 2015 under a colonial-era house on Guatemala Street, located just behind the Cathedral of Mexico City.

The discovery revealed startling details.

The findings indicate that the Aztecs had a human sacrifice industry so massive that it can not be compared to any other in the history of the world.


The Aztec culture, which developed between the 14th and 16th centuries, carried out human sacrifices and gave a special post-mortem treatment to the corpses of those who had been sacrificed.


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