|Pueblo Bonito at Chaco Canyon|
"8. And the husbands and fathers of those women and children they have slain; and they feed the women upon the flesh of their husbands, and the children upon the flesh of their fathers; and no water, save a little, do they give unto them.
9. And notwithstanding this great abomination of the Lamanites, it doth not exceed that of our people in Moriantum. For behold, many of the daughters of the Lamanites have they taken prisoners; and after depriving them of that which was most dear and precious above all things, which is chastity and virtue-
10. And after they had done this thing, they did murder them in a most cruel manner, torturing their bodies even unto death; and after they have done this, they devour their flesh like unto wild beasts, because of the hardness of their hearts; and they do it for a token of their bravery."
|Aztec Cannibalism from Codex from Machilabechiano|
Well it's been a commonly known fact from the diaries of the Spanish conquistadors and priests that cannibalism existed in a large degree among the Aztecs who would be considered one of the successor civilizations following the Nephite/Lamanite/Mayan time period. Aztec war expeditions would be used to claim more sacrificial victims. Most of the sacrifices involved tearing out the heart, offering it to the sun and a little blood to the idols. The corpse was then tumbled down the steps of the pyramid and carried off to be butchered. The head went on the local skull rack, displayed in central plazas along the temple-pyramids. At least three of the limbs were the property of the captor if he had seized the prisoner without assistance in battle. Later, at a feast given at the captor's quarters the central dish was a stew of tomatoes, peppers, and the limbs of his victim. The remaining torso, in Tenochtitlan at least, went to the royal zoo where it was used to feed carnivorous mammals, birds, and snakes.
Archaeologists excavating at an Aztec sacrificial site in the Tlatelolco section of Mexico City between 1960 and 1969 have uncovered headless human rib cages missing the limb bones. Along with these remains were some razor sharp obsidian blades, which are believed to be used in the butchering process. Also discovered were piles of human skulls, which apparently had been broken open to obtain the brains, possibly a choice delicacy reserved for the priesthood, and to mount the skull son a ceremonial rack.
|Anthropologist Christy Turner|
at Chaco Canyon
As I stated earlier the idea of cannibalism among the Anasazi is a controversial one to say the least. This is because the Hopi and many other Pueblo tribes state that their traditional stories and histories do not speak of any sort of cannibalism. They do not deny violence and other hideous instances that spawned migrations in the past but the act of cannibalism usually denotes a degenerate society of savages which creates a negative connotation on the whole perspective of the Hopi and Anasazi. This has been highly disputed among anthropologists and archaeologists and traditional Native Americans as well. Some of Turners earlier studies were on a group of bones found on Polacca Wash on the Hopi Reservation that he stated showed all six of his forensic signs of cannibalism. He traced this activity to the traditional stories of the destruction of the ancient Hopi village of Awatovi, which is partially why many Hopi find the claim absurd. He did advise that if any of the forensic signs were missing than the claim of cannibalism was dismissed immediately. These signs include the following:
|cuts from dismemberment|
|Burns on skull|
|Crushed bone exposing the marrow|
|Crushing Vertebra for bone cake|
|Pot Polish seen through|
Turner is supported by other archaeologists and anthropologists in his findings but he also has those who disagree who state that the bone damage and boilings could have been done as a way to purge witchcraft minus the cannibalism. This is an option that could easily be the truth but the problem is that at another site in Colorado called Cowboy Wash the smoking gun seems to have been found. The Hopi tribal Archaeologist Kurt Dongoske in defending against cannibalism suggested that cannibalism could not be proven until " you actually find human remains in prehistoric human excrement". At Cowboy wash archaeologists found three kivas with all the signs of cannibalism except in the third kiva they found what was classified as "macrobotanical remain". These remains were tested by the University of Nebraska and confirmed that the remains were coprolite formed from digested human meat. It was later tested by the University of Colorado for the presence of human myoglobin (a protein found only in skeletal and heart muscle and could not get into the intestinal tract except through eating. It tested positive, human DNA in ancient excrement.
I don't know how to dispute those findings but with all things archaeology I don't set anything in stone. With that said Emory Sekaquaptewa who was a Hopi Tribal Council member stated, "I believe there were times in the Southwest when cannibalism was necessary. As a child, I heard stories of historic Pueblo people's resorting to eating other people during times of extreme stress." (Swentzell) "There were also people who had traditions of human sacrifice, who were also not admitted (into Hopi)."
Turner proposed that this cannibalism came from civilizations from the south mainly in Mesoamerica with the Toltec and Aztecs. he stated, "We propose that these southerners were practitioners of the Xipe-Totec (or Maasaw) and the Tezcatlipoca- Quetzalcoatl (plumed serpent) cults. They entered the San Juan basin around AD. 900and found a suspicious but plaint population whom they terrorized into reproducing the theocratic lifestyle they had previously known in Mesoamerica. The Mexicans achieved their objectives through the use of warfare, violent example, and terrifying cult ceremonies that included human sacrifice and cannibalism. after the abandonment of Chaco, human sacrifices, and cannibalism all but disappeared, suggesting some kind of prehistoric discontinuity."
|Paquime in Chihuahua Mexico|
In closing I would like to add that when Nephites put this evil practice into play they did it as an act of bravery as stated in Mormon's second epistle to his son Moroni noted above. It seems it was this same mind set that existed among the Aztecs and possibly the Anasazi. Brutality never was bravery and although it makes for an interesting correspondence in this study of cannibalism and the Book of Mormon, the fact that we are putting this study together off of the remains of civilizations shows that the Lord will not protect those who uphold and practice these barbaric acts. It is also of interest that around this same timeframe that Chaco Canyon was abandoned and places like Mesa Verde, Montezumas Castle and other cliff dwellings became the hideout homes as if hiding from someone or something. Well that all makes since in this light.