A Mass Sacrifice of Children and Camelids in the North Coast of Peru during the 15th Century AD
盖布瑞·普日特 Gabriel Prieto
(美国佛罗里达大学 University of Florida)
费伦·卡斯蒂略·卢汉 Feren Alexard Castillo Luján
(秘鲁特鲁希略国立大学 National University of Trujillo)
在古代世界，不同的社会都会把人和动物作为牺牲。在秘鲁的前西班牙时代，仆从和牺牲的动物随葬在坟墓中，来陪伴过世的重要人物；在纪念性建筑中将其作为奉献物埋葬；在主要的礼仪中心将其作为公共仪式牺牲。在万查基托拉遗址（也称为“ 格拉马罗特 A”）最近发掘的结果证明了公元1450年奇穆国有大量使用儿童和骆驼作为牺牲的行为。
来自38个个体的牙齿样本中碳氮稳定同位素分析表明这些个体饮食来源存在很大差异。 万查基托拉数据显示13C / 12C和15N / 14N数值范围比较大，表明由于不了解万查基托拉儿童的原居地和生活史，因此其饮食特征的多样性支持根据颅骨整形推断他们可能是来自不同的地区。
Human and animal sacrifices were made by various societies in the ancient world. In Prehispanic Peru, retainers and sacrificed animals were placed in tombs to accompany important persons in the afterlife, buried as dedicatory offerings in monumental architecture, and sacrificed in public rituals at major ceremonial centers. The results of recent excavations at the Huanchaquito-Las Llamas site (also known as “Gramalote A”) provide evidence of a massive sacrifice of children and camelids by the Chimú State, c. AD 1450.
The Chimú state flourished between the 11th and 15th centuries AD, dominating a broad expanse of the Peruvian coast. At its apogee, it controlled coastal valleys as far north as the present-day border of Peru and Ecuador and to the south as far as the present day Peruvian capital of Lima, encompassing more than 1000 kilometers of the Peruvian coastline. Chimú hegemony was supported by intensive agriculture, with fields fed by a sophisticated web of hydraulic canals managed by an efficient bureaucracy. Crops and sumptuary goods were transported to well-organized storage facilities in cities and provincial administrative centers.
Sacrifices of children are known to have been made by the Inca and by some societies that came before them. Although no archaeological evidence has been found to confirm ethnohistoric accounts claiming that large numbers of children were sacrificed by the Inca on particular occasions, such as the death or coronation of an Inca ruler, a small number of child sacrifices have been recovered on high mountaintops in recent decades in excavations conducted by international research teams. Until the Huanchaquito-Las Llamas discovery there was very little archaeological evidence of human sacrifices on the north coast of Peru that focused exclusively on children. Ethnohistoric sources likewise are limited to an account by the Spanish Friar Antonio de la Calancha, who claimed that child sacrifices were made by the Chimú in the Jequetepeque river valley during lunar eclipses, along with offerings of fruits, maize beer and colored cottons.
Archaeological discoveries of retainer and dedicatory burials and sacrificed captives have been made at multiple sites on the north coast, as well as sacrificial offerings that include a mix of children, adolescents, and adults, but until recently only one possible example a sacrifice containing only children and camelids was known. In 1969, excavations in the seaside town of Huanchaco by archaeologist Christopher Donnan encountered the remains of seventeen children and twenty camelids buried together in simple pits without funerary offerings. Although osteological analysis was not done to determine possible cause of death, on the basis of their archaeological context, demographic profile, and atypical burial pattern, Donnan concluded that the burials probably were sacrificial offerings. A radiocarbon date placed the event at circa AD 1400, during the Chimú domination of the North Coast.
Camelids were the principal animals used for sacrifices in the Central Andean region during Prehispanic times. Although some ritual deposits of camelids are known from as early as the Late Preceramic (prior to 1800 BC) at the Temple of Crossed Hands at Kotosh, the sacrifice of camelids dramatically increased during the Early Intermediate Period (c. 100-600 AD), particularly in the Moche culture of northern Peru. The most common pattern is the inclusion of whole camelids or body parts (preferentially skull and leg extremities) as funerary offerings. In tombs, they played both alimentary and symbolic functions. During the Chimú occupation of the Moche Valley, complete camelids were deposited alone or together with humans in tombs and in storage facilities at the Huaca de la Luna and at Chan Chan. However, the early discovery by Donnan and Foote in the late 1960’s and the present case described here suggest that Huanchaco served as a particular focus of child and camelid sacrificial offerings.
The Huanchaquito-Las Llamas Sacrificial Site
Located 350 meters from the shoreline, is a deposit of windblown beach sand covering the lower flank of marine terrace that reaches a height of approximately eleven meters above sea level. The site is delimited on the south by modern construction and to the north by an area used as a disposal area for construction debris and refuse. In the late 1990s, the western portion of the site was cut through by heavy machinery during construction of a road. It can be assumed that a substantial, but unknown quantity of cultural materials buried along the margins of the site have been lost because of construction activity.
Between 2011 and 2016 funding was obtained to conduct further excavation at the site and to perform a detailed analysis of the human and camelids skeletons. Excavations resulting in a final count of 137 children and 205 camelids. The total estimated number of individuals is higher if we count incomplete remains recovered from areas disturbed by recent human activity at the site. Complete excavation of the site indicates that the children and camelids were buried in an area of approximately 700 square meters (50 meters N-S axis and 14 meters E-W axis). The southern, northern and western edges of the site have been severely impacted by modern construction, destroying the human and animal contexts. Nevertheless, our excavations confirmed that the bulk of the sacrificial victims (both human and animal) were concentrated in the central portion of the site.
Analysis suggests that humans and camelids were buried following a strict order in which most of the children faced to the west (the sea) and camelids toward the mountains. Children often were buried in groups of three and placed by increasing age from youngest to oldest. Some children’s faces were painted with a red cinnabar-based pigment, and others (primarily older children) wore distinctive cotton headdresses. Camelids were carefully accommodated next to or on top of the human bodies. In many cases camelids of contrasting colors (brown and beige) were buried together, placed in different orientations.
Along the east side of the four identified burial clusters lay a dried mud surface. It appears that this deposit of mud originally covered the entire site, but the excavation of burial pits for the sacrificial victims and the apparent heavy transit during the sacrificial event may have destroyed portions of it. This was suggested by the presence of numerous fragments of dried mud in areas where the surface was not intact. Only a few children and camelids were buried on the eastern portion of the site, and in this area the mud was well preserved. Well-preserved human, camelid and dog foot prints were made on this mud surface while it was still wet. Some of the human footprints are identifiable as impressions of adult sandals while smaller footprints were made by children who walked barefoot (no sandals were found with the sacrificial victims). The size and shape of the camelid footprints match well with the estimated size of a young camelid hoof, suggesting that the animals who marked their transit through the site were sacrificial victims.
Contemporaneity of the Sacrificial Event
One of the objectives of the excavations was to determine whether this massive concentration of sacrificed children and camelids represents a single event or a series of smaller events. Stratigraphic analysis indicates that all the humans and animals were buried in the same layer of clean sand. Almost all bodies were buried at the same depth and in close proximity to one another, and no examples were found of burial pits that cut into others. Only two bodies located on the northern sector of the site were found at a significantly greater depth. The discovery of human and camelid foot prints made in wet mud suggest that the victims circulated near the area where they were finally buried. These data, along with our observations on burial position and spatial clustering suggest that a) the children and the camelids were sacrificed at this location (rather than their bodies being brought from elsewhere) and that b) the final disposition of the human and animal bodies followed a consistent sacrificial program planned and organized, perhaps, by Chimú priests and officials.
Twenty AMS radiocarbon determinations were made by two independent laboratories. The samples were drawn from different sectors of the excavations, and all are based on short-lived plant remains (sedge ropes associated with the camelids and cotton threads from children’s burial shrouds). The results cluster around CAL AD 1400-1450. Using one or two sigma calibrations, the results indicate that the sacrificial event can be dated relatively precisely to this range of dates, placing it in the late Chimú period. Stratigraphic evidence suggests that the sacrifice was made following a heavy rain/flood event that deposited a layer of mud on top of the clean sand in which the children and camelids were buried. The mud appears to have been deposited as sheet wash during a major rainfall event (or series of events), and is probably associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon or a similar climate alteration (“El Niño Costero” for instance) that periodically brings coastal flooding and elevated sea temperatures that disrupt the marine food chain in northern and central Peru. It is possible that the sacrifices were made in response to the heavy rains, as burial pits were dug through the mud layer and in a few cases some children and camelids were left on top of the wet mud.
Osteological Analysis of the Sacrificed Children
Except for three adult burials (two females and one male), all the human skeletal remains were of children, ranging in age from approximately five to fourteen years, with the majority falling in the range of eight to twelve years of age.
aDNA Preliminary Analysis
Short hair and remains of loincloths worn by some individuals are suggestive of male sex, but skeletal morphology cannot distinguish males and females at this young age. However, preliminary analysis of dental samples using gonosomalDNA markers indicates that both boys and girls are present in the sample. We confirmed the Native American ancestry of the individuals by determining their mitochondrial haplogroups using a multiplex single-base extension PCR assay. Genome-wide sequencing analyses are currently in progress in order to explore the population genetic affinities of the sacrificed individuals.
Variability in Cranial Modification
Variation in styles of cranial modification indicates that the children buried at Huanchaquito Las Llamas are a heterogeneous sample, perhaps drawn from distinct social groups and geographic regions. Of 130 crania complete enough to be evaluated, 85% (111/130) show no cranial modification. Surprisingly, only 8% (11/130) show the form of occipital flattening typical of prehistoric populations of the north coast of Peru, considered to be the product of cradle boarding in infancy. Of particular interest are eight crania (6%) that show a distinct form of cranial modification of the type known as annular. Annular deformation was not practiced on the north coast of Peru, but it is found in some areas of the northern highlands, such as in the modern Department of Ancash, suggesting that these children may have geographic origins distinct from the majority who show no cranial shaping and from those with occipital flattening typical of the Chimú and other northern coastal populations.
Carbon and Nitrogen Stable Isotope Analysis
Stable isotopic ratios of carbon and nitrogen from tooth samples from 38 individuals suggest substantial variability in dietary sources. The Huanchaquito data show substantially wider range of both 13C/12C and 15N/14N ratios, suggesting that since the residential and life history of the Huanchaquito children is unknown, the variability in their dietary signatures supports the inference from cranial modification that they may have been drawn from diverse geographic regions.
Osteological Evidence of Sacrificial Method
Laboratory examination revealed that nearly all children with complete sternal elements showed a single transverse cut through one of the sternebrae (unfused sternal elements). The cuts are consistent in location, angle and direction, and the rarity of hesitation cuts or “false starts” suggests that an experienced hand made them. Approximately 10% also showed cut marks on the external surface of the third or fourth rib, as was seen in the camelids as well. Many of children had visible spreading and displacement of the ribs, indicating that the chest was opened forcefully.
The transverse orientation of the cuts of the sterna of the Huanchaquito children are unlike those seen in any other sacrificial victims from ancient Peru. Accessing the heart by transverse sectioning of the sternum is a technique familiar to modern thoracic surgeons, and is known by various names. At Huanchaquito Las Llamas the reasons for this type of cut can only be hypothesized, but heart removal is a likely motivation.
Study of Camelid Remains
Although not all camelid remains were complete due to post-depositional disturbance, the overall preservation was excellent and allowed the study of perishable materials such as wool, stomach contents, sedge ropes, and plant remains caught in the animals’ hair, observations that are not normally observable in archaeological contexts. All the camelids were immature, less than a year and a half old, with 75% estimated to be less than 9 months of age. The very high proportion of very young individuals and the lack of adults indicate that these animals were age selected. There is a clear parallel between the young ages of the children and the camelids.
A variety of coat colors was observed, including beige, light brown, dark brown and mixed colors such as a brown background with beige dots. The most frequently observed color was brown; the least common was beige. The predominance of brown and mixed color, along with the young age of the animals, appear to have been principal criteria in the selection of animals for sacrifice.
Relatively few convincing examples of child sacrifice are known from the Old World, and in most cases, there is debate over whether these in fact can be identified as intentional killing, given a lack of osteological evidence of cause of death. In the case of Huanchaquito Las Llamas, there is no such ambiguity. Skeletal evidence clearly indicates that the children and camelids were sacrificed by cutting open the thoracic cavity. No other evidence of perimortem (occurring at or around the time of death) trauma was observed in any of the children or camelids, indicating that the sacrificial program was a consistent one.
Variation in forms of cranial deformation and the wide range of carbon and nitrogen isotopic ratios observed in the children suggest that they are a heterogeneous sample, perhaps composed of individuals selected from various geographic or ethnic groups, rather than from a single local population. The presence of a thick layer of mud on top of the sand in which the children and camelids were buried, as well as the presence of human and animal footprints made while the mud was still wet, suggest that the sacrificial event occurred shortly after heavy rainfall and flooding, in an arid region that receives negligible rainfall under normal conditions. While the correlation between heavy rains and the sacrifice may be coincidental, it is tempting to hypothesize that the two events are associated, and that the mass offering of children and camelids may have been an attempt to appease the gods and mitigate the effects of a major ENSO event that occurred around 1400-1450 A.D.
Gabriel Prieto obtained his PhD Degree at Yale University in 2015 and currently is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Florida. Since 2010 Prieto has been working in the North Coast of Peru, specifically in Huanchaco where he has excavated more than eight archaeological sites, one of which is the now-famous Huanchaquito Las Llamas mass sacrificial ground. Prieto has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals and in January 2020 he will publish as co-editor with Daniel Sandweiss the book “Maritime Communities of the Ancient Andes,” which compiles articles from different fishing settlements along the South American Pacific Coastline. Gabriel Prieto is also a National Geographic Explorer and has received multiple grants to conduct his research.
Feren Castillo obtained his Masters Degree at the University of Rennes in France. Since 2010 he has been working at the world-famous and also Shanghai Forum Award site of Huaca de la Luna, under the direction of Santiago Uceda. Since 2018 Castillo has jointed the Huanchaco Archaeological Program under the direction of Gabriel Prieto and is the Resident of this Project. He is also in charge of the Archaeology Laboratory of this research program which was recently awarded by the American Embassador’s Fund for the conservation and preservation of archaeological collections. Thanks to this award, this laboratory is today one of the most sophisticated in Peru and a long-term conservation program will guarantee the preservation of the outstanding textiles and feathered cloths found in Huanchaco. Feren Castillo is currently an Assistant Professor of archaeology at the National University of Trujillo.