Skip to comments.Boiled bones show Aztecs butchered, ate invaders
Posted on 08/23/2006 3:46:48 PM PDT by WmShirerAdmirer
CALPULALPAN, Mexico (Reuters) - Skeletons found at an unearthed site in Mexico show Aztecs captured, ritually sacrificed and partially ate several hundred people traveling with invading Spanish forces in 1520.
Skulls and bones from the Tecuaque archaeological site near Mexico City show about 550 victims had their hearts ripped out by Aztec priests in ritual offerings, and were dismembered or had their bones boiled or scraped clean, experts say.
The findings support accounts of Aztecs capturing and killing a caravan of Spanish conquistadors and local men, women and children traveling with them in revenge for the murder of Cacamatzin, king of the Aztec empire's No. 2 city of Texcoco.
Experts say the discovery proves some Aztecs did resist the conquistadors, led by explorer Hernan Cortes, before the Spaniards attacked the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City.
History books say many indigenous Mexicans welcomed the white-skinned horsemen in the belief they were returning gods but turned against the Spaniards once they tried to take over the Aztec seat of power in a conflict that ended in 1521.
"This is the first place that has so much evidence there was resistance to the conquest," said archaeologist Enrique Martinez, director of the dig at Calpulalpan in Tlaxcala state, near Texcoco.
"It shows it wasn't all submission. There was a fight."
The caravan was apparently captured because it was made up mostly of the mulatto, mestizo, Maya Indian and Caribbean men and women given to the Spanish as carriers and cooks when they landed in Mexico in 1519, and so was moving slowly.
The prisoners were kept in cages for months while Aztec priests selected a few each day at dawn, held them down on a sacrificial slab, cut out their hearts and offered them up to various Aztec gods.
Some may have been given hallucinogenic mushrooms or pulque -- an alcoholic milky drink made from fermented cactus juice -- to numb them to what was about to happen.
"It was a continuous sacrifice over six months. While the prisoners were listening to their companions being sacrificed, the next ones were being selected," Martinez said, standing in his lab amid boxes of bones, some of young children.
"You can only imagine what it was like for the last ones, who were left six months before being chosen, their anguish."
The priests and town elders, who performed the rituals on the steps of temples cut off by a perimeter wall, sometimes ate their victims' raw and bloody hearts or cooked flesh from their arms and legs once it dropped off the boiling bones.
Knife cuts and even teeth marks on the bones show which ones had meat stripped off to be eaten, Martinez said.
Aztec warriors whitened the bones with lime and carried them as amulets. Some were used as ornaments in homes.
In Aztec times, the site was called Zultepec, a town of white-stucco temples and homes where some 5,000 people grew maize and beans and produced pulque to sell to traders.
Priests had to be brought in for the ritual killings because human sacrifices had never taken place there, Martinez said.
On hearing of the massacre, Cortes renamed the town Tecuaque -- meaning "where people were eaten" in the indigenous Nahuatl language -- and sent an army to wipe out its people.
When they heard the Spanish were coming, the Zultepec Aztecs threw their victims' possessions down wells, unwittingly preserving buttons and jewelry for the archaeologists.
The team began work in 1990 and is only now finishing its investigation. It found remains of domestic animals brought from Spain, like goats and pigs.
"They hid all the evidence," said Martinez. "Thanks to that act, we have been allowed to discover a chapter we were unaware of in the conquest of Mexico."
And yet we're just rolling over for the Reconquista.
Oh, I'm soooo eager to learn more about ATZLAN..!
With 11 MILLION on our hands now, I wonder how long OUR party would last...?
Oops, wrong link
It's worth noting that the native Americans, what we refer to as the Indians, did this as well. They believed that eating the heart of a worthy opponent strengthened them. I seem to recall that Pontiac had a thing for the flesh of his victims.
At any rate, I recommend Alan Eckert's "The Frontiersmen", a historical novel, for context on that subject. It's one of the best books I've ever read.
I have never admired this so-called "civilization". The best I will allow them is "curious primitive killer-culture" status.
Not even remotely "news"...
so did the Japs....
Hi, did a search exactly as title read and nothing came up.
Thanks for the notice.
All cultures are equal! All cultures are equal!
so this is the Nahuatl language speaking heritage that
our Latino ,Aztlan promoting members of society would have us return to?
All I can say is many will die first , many.....
Well, at the very least I'd be shopping for a new travel agent.
Sorry, but to say cannibalism is wrong is just a point of view. We should be tolerant and nonjudgmental-- the one who calls others barbarians is the true barbarian.
Really, the intolerance here is astounding. How do we KNOW those eaten didn't hop on the grille willingly? Were there documents or photos or videos, all of which could be faked? Truth is we can't KNOW, so let's not be judgmental, huh? After all, they only ate humans, it's not like they ate an endangered animal species or something. ;)
And we must not judge them as bad - to compare them to us would be ethnocentric and narrow minded.
And as we've all been lectured to ad nauseum, there's nothing worse - not murder, rape, torture, theft, etc. - NOTHING is worse than the thought crime of thinking bad of another culture, group, race, blah blah blah.
It was my pleasure. There are posts in response on that other thread that are quite funny. If you have a topic like this in the future search for it under user SunkenCiv & if he doesn't have it yet, ping him.
Many Mexicans (not Aztecs) did welcome the conquistadors, precisely because they were tired of being sacrificed (and apparently eaten) by the Aztecs.
All in all, for its faults, militant Spanish-style papism, inquisitors and all, was a better deal than having pious Aztec pagans as neighbors, and they were right to welcome them.
You beat me to it- my feelings exactly, it was just another culture, need to respect it, let's move on.
" so did the Japs...."
Yes , horrible ...but out of necessity .
THE FRONTIERSMEN is indeed a terrific book - and it is in fact a history, not a novel. Eckert's accounts of the atrocities committed by both sides are absolutely horrifying - the details of Colonel Crawford's torture, for instance, make the hair stand on end. Anybody who thinks the Indians were just peaceful berry gatherers really needs to read that book.
For the Aztecs, besides Bernal Diaz's account and Prescott's history, I always liked the novel CAPTAIN FROM CASTILLE. There are some really vivid torture/cannibalism scenes in there.
These xenophobes Mexi-fascists represent a small portion of the culture of peace.
'One man's Cannibal is another man's gourmet'-- Reuters
I guess this shows how"backward"white-european is?
The 'Black Legend' of anti-Catholic propaganda, rears its ugly head.
Sounds like a Democrats dream. Sacrifice human life and eat it too.
" 550 victims"
Too much pork for just one spork!
Good movie too, minus the cannibalism, starring Tyrone Powers and featuring Caesar Romero as a heroic Cortes. They also nod to the 'Black Legend' by making Powers a victim of the Inquisition.
Yeah, the movie is colorful and fun, but it ends just as the story gets really interesting. I think they planned to make a Part Two but ran out of money.
" the one who calls others barbarians is the true barbarian. "
Since our culture ritually eats the flesh and blood of its God, the high ground to call others barbarian in their religious culture isn't of a particulary high elevation either.
You're right; Eckert goes to great length in the preface to assure the reader that nothing in the book is invented; all of the dialog is based on actual historical documents which recount the actions of the characters. On that point alone the book is a herculean example of research and scholarship.
Thanks for the reply.
As an Orthodox Christian (you remember the other four patriarchates besides Rome?) I take a dim view of the Latin papal claims.
I would ordinarily refer to adherents of the Papal throne of Rome as 'Latins' following the example of the Orthodox fathers in the early centuries after their schism from the Church, but 'Spanish Latins' didn't work in the context, and it was, after all more or less contemporaneous with the maximal extent of papal abuses (indulgences, the Inquisition and the like) and northern rebellion against the Popes of Rome usually called the 'Reformation' (though if it really were re-forming, the Lutheran correspondence with Constantinople would have gone better), so I took the old term of art, offensive though it may be.
(Actually, we Orthodox like the current Pope of Rome: he's got a good grasp of patristics, and is given to quoting our fathers, even from after the schism.)
They also skinned their captives and wore the skins.
Not really, we in the East have a good recollection of the behavior of prelates in olden days, be it our own or the Latins after the schism. (cf. my last post on the reason for my choice of wording)
Beware the illegal laborers that say that just here "To Serve(the)Gringo"...
Reminds me of the SNL skit where the queen was agonizing over what would be done with her body after she died. They did go on and on. Sooth, 'twas a gas.
Don't deny it at all, so long as the Protestants acknowledge their vastly more numerous witch killings, and the Orthodox acknowledge their participation in barbarously tyrannical regimes (The Czars, Vlad the Impaler), and their allowing the Muslims to conquer the holy land. Not to move this interesting thread to the 'Smokey Backroom'.
These scientists had better get on the PC bandwagon, quick, and talk about this in the right way. If they don't, they'll lose their money and eventually their jobs.
I wonder if this story will be "fit to print" in the NY Times.
Equal!? What are you talking about? Third world primitive cultures are ever so much more noble, high minded and wise than any others. They live in harmony with our mother the earth. They feel her pulse and respond with humble adoration. If we decadent westerners would only turn an attentive ear to the wisdom....of ...
...that's as much sarcasm as I can spew out in one sitting.
I couldn't agree more about Allan Eckert. I thought THE FRONTIERSMEN was his best work but I also greatly enjoyed WILDERNESS EMPIRE, THE CONQUERORS, THE WILDERNESS WAR, GATEWAY TO EMPIRE, TWILIGHT OF EMPIRE, and THAT DARK AND BLOODY RIVER. Eckert must be ancient by now. Do you happen to know if he is still writing? I also enjoyed his book about Tecumseh. I believe it was called A SORROW IN OUR HEARTS. I spent the summer of 1990 playing couch potato lost in his great books.
"...unless they get a real Mikey Moore-size porker on the spit..."
He could feed a small African or Aztec village for a week, IMO. LOL.
not in all cases....in some instances they ate the liver to show superiority...
It was a common Aztec practice to sacrifice living humans and to eat their flesh as a kind of sacrament. I guess it takes all kinds.