Human Sacrifice at Tula: Reputation, Representation, and Actuality

Author(s): Keith Jordan

Year: 2016


Since the mid-twentieth century, it has been a staple of the archaeological and art historical literature on Tula, echoed in popular coverage of the site, that its art is dominated by themes of human sacrifice, and that Toltec involvement in this practice exceeded that of prior Mesoamerican cultures in scope and intensity. In fact, there are no direct representations of human sacrifice in Tula’s art. Although the eclectic Tula art tradition drew on many sources, it rejected the graphic portrayals of sacrifice and bloodletting characteristic of Classic Maya and Veracruz styles in favor of the more indirect sacrificial imagery derived from Teotihuacan art. My paper examines both the archaeological and the iconographic evidence of human sacrifice at Tula to present a more nuanced and current assessment of the role of ritual violence in the city’s religion and politics.

Cite this Record

Human Sacrifice at Tula: Reputation, Representation, and Actuality. Keith Jordan. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402883)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;