Mesoamerica Heart Extraction Research

April 29, 2020

Vera Tiesler and Guilhem Olivier have published the results of their Mesoamerica heart extraction in Current Anthropology; “Open Chests and Broken Hearts: Ritual Sequences and Meanings of Human Heart Sacrifice in Mesoamerica.”

They studied anatomical analysis of skeletal evidence and compared it with systematically checked historical sources and over 200 instances of ceremonial heart extraction in codices. They focused on the location of openings created in the chest to allow for the removal of a victim’s heart and blood. They examined the resulting fractures and marks in articulated skeletons to infer about the nature of the entry wound and the potential instrumentation used.

Three distinct heart extraction methods were used; cutting directly under the ribs (subdiaphragmatic thoracotomy); making an incision between two ribs (intercostal thoracotomy); or by horizontally severing the sternum in order to access the heart (transverse bilateral thoracotomy).

The reason for this practice was as a source of “vitalizing matter,” or food for the gods. Hearts and blood were offered as sustenance to deities representing the sun and the earth in recognition of their sacrifices during the creation of the universe. Data–including linguistic analysis of ancient Mesoamerican terminology–reinforce suggestions that these rites served as acts of obligation, reciprocation, and re-enactment.

News360 has the report here;

Mike Ruggeri’s Toltecs and Aztecs

(Scroll down to Aztec Human Sacrifice)