Hail the Conquering Gods: Ritual Sacrifice of Children in Inca Society

Hail the Conquering Gods: Ritual Sacrifice of Children in Inca Society

By Jennifer L. Faux

Journal of Contemporary Anthropology, Vol. 3, Iss. 1 (2012)

Abstract: The focus of this paper is to evaluate the Capacocha (also referred to as capac hucha) or child sacrifices in Inca society. This paper begins by evaluating the Capacocha ceremony as practiced by the Inca. By addressing how children played a role in past rituals, the paper centralizes its focus on ritual sacrifice, a subject that has warranted numerous debates by archaeologists. The Capacocha children are sacrificial victims found in summits of the Andes. Their nearly perfectly preserved bodies yield valuable information regarding the health, diet, and birth place of Incan children. In determining these specific elements, archaeologists can theorize the status and ethnicity of the sacrificial victims. Archaeologists discovered the overall diet and health of the sacrificial victims was exceptional, leading them to infer that the majority of the victims were high-status children. However, there was great variability regarding the ethnicity of the Capacocha child victims, permitting to hypothesize the use of these children as political and economic pawns for the Inca king. Then, remains of these children offer archaeologists a glimpse at ritual sacrifice in Inca society as a performed ritual practiced for solidifying the Inca king

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