Maya Child Sacrifice Via Cranial Punctures

Author(s): Michael Prout

Year: 2017


Our knowledge of Maya human sacrifice is drawn from iconographic representations and contact period Spanish sources. Unfortunately, the corpus related to child sacrifice is extremely limited. In 1971 David M. Pendergast described the burial of a child from Eduardo Quiroz Cave with traumatic perimortem holes in the parietals. Later, Brady reported on a second child with similar wounds. Both Pendergast and Brady interpreted the evidence as reflecting child sacrifice. The recovery of thousands of human bones and bone fragments from Midnight Terror Cave in 2010 yielded evidence of similar perimortem trauma in the crania of at least one individual. This poster compares the contexts of the punctured skulls found in the human remains in Eduardo Quiroz Cave, Naj Tunich, and Midnight Terror Cave to suggest this as a heretofore unrecognized method of Maya sacrifice, at least for children.

Cite this Record

Maya Child Sacrifice Via Cranial Punctures. Michael Prout. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430811)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17509