With ancient ceremonial knives at his side, an elite 14th-century executioner—a key player in human-sacrifice rituals—has been uncovered in a tomb at a pre-Inca site in Peru, archaeologists suggest.
The tomb was found at Chotuna-Chornancap, a coastal site near the Peruvian city of Chiclayo. The site was once an important ceremonial center of the Lambayeque culture, also known as the Sicán.
The culture lived along the northern coasts of Peru from around A.D. 800 until around 1375, when the neighboring Chimú civilization conquered the Sicán.
Previous excavations at Chotuna-Chornancap by Peruvian archaeologist Carlos Wester La Torre, who led the team that found the purported sacrificer, revealed a temple containing the remains of several women who were mutilated as part of human-sacrifice rituals.
Wester and other Peruvian archaeologists have suggested that the rulers of Chotuna-Chornancap may have claimed to be the descendants of Naylamp, a god-like figure from the sea that legend says founded the Sicán culture.
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Article by Ker Than, National Geographic News