Archaeology Magazine

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Sacrificed Woman Found at Moche Temple

Monday, July 15, 2013

LIMA, PERU—The remains of a sacrificed woman have been found beneath the floor of a ceremonial courtyard at the Moche temple of Cao Viejo, located at the El Brujo complex. Archaeologists think her body had been dropped into the burial pit because she was found in the prone position with her head toward the west and one arm extended. This is a unique position in known burials of Moche sacrifice victims. Her death may have been “caused by her swallowing some toxic substance or being strangled with a cord, the usual method with young women who accompanied Moche dignitaries into the tomb,” said American archaeologist John Verano, who works with the Peruvian team of excavators led by Regulo Franco.