Subway Diggers Find Weird Sacrifice in Mexico

Dog was on Aztec skull rack alongside humans

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 1, 2014 11:32 AM CST

(Newser) – Digging deep under a city as ancient as Mexico City is bound to turn up surprises, and archaeologists have found one that changes their understanding of Aztec human sacrifice. Excavations for an extension of the city's subway system turned up the remains of numerous sacrifices, including the skull of a dog with perforations that suggest it was displayed on a rack usually used to show off the severed heads of captured warriors, the AP reports.

The skulls of two men and, unusually, a woman were also found with the skull rack, which is believed to date to some time between 1350 and 1521. Archaeologists say that during the Spanish conquest, horse heads were sometimes placed on sacrifice racks but not dogs. Researchers believe the dog's presence alongside human victims may have been related to beliefs that dogs accompany their owner in the underworld after death.

The skeleton of a person lies next to an incense holder after it was found during excavations for Line 12 of Mexico City's subway/   (AP Photo/INAH)
The skeletons of a dog and humans found during excavations for Line 12 of Mexico City's subway.   (AP Photo/INAH)
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