Exploring the Identity of Sacrificed Infants and Children at La Cueva de Los Muertos Chiquitos, Durango, Mexico (AD 571–1168)
Human sacrifice has been documented cross-culturally both in the past and present. Often subadults, such as young children and infants, are victims in such rituals. Past research has emphasized the identification of sacrifice to the detriment of reconstructing the factors which put certain subgroups of a community at risk. Here, novel evidence of infant and child sacrifice from a burial cave site in Northern Durango, Mexico is presented. The site, La Cueva de Los Muertos Chiquitos (AD 571-1168), contains over 31 individuals of which 19 are suggested to have died as the result of ritual sacrifice. Osteobiographic data is put into regional and historical context to understand who was most commonly a victim of sacrifice. Finally, a reconstruction of children's personhood in the context of such ideologies of victimization is presented. This research adds to a growing body of bioarchaeological work investing variation in children's treatment and social roles in varying contexts.
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