Sacrifice at Midnight Terror Cave, Belize


Skeletal data from Midnight Terror Cave (MTC) have recently been used to suggest that individuals with physical deformities would have formed a class of “social outcasts” who were preferentially selected as sacrificial victims. Close scrutiny reveals a number of flaws in the data used. The extraction and sequencing of DNA recovered from a number of the bones in question is used to clarify the situation. Considering the size of the MTC assemblage, well over 100 individuals, the authors are impressed by the lack of obvious deformities. Ethnohistoric data is presented to suggest that the crippled or deformed may have actually been rejected as sacrificial victims.

Cite this Record

Sacrifice at Midnight Terror Cave, Belize. Cristina Verdugo, Lars Fehren-Schmitz, James Brady. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402888)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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