Human Sacrifice Among the Inca

The Inca had a different way of going about sacrifices than many other cultures. First of all, the Inca rarely, if ever, sacrificed prisoners, or even adults in general. All Incan sacrifices were children between the ages of six and fifteen. These children went through a process called capacocha, a process which ended with their inevitable sacrifice. Children were sacrificed to the gods because they were considered the purest of all beings, and so much more worthy than any adult could ever be. Those chosen were always the healthiest, and the closest to the Inca idea of perfection. To be chosen was considered quite the honor. Chosen children were given clothes and food that were quite similar to those of the highest-ranking people in Incan culture. They also were taken to Cuzco to meet the emperor. Then, they were taken to live high in the mountains. Until the time of their sacrifice, they’d be given increasingly high amounts of coca, which is the type of plant used in cocaine production and the production of the soft drink, Coke. Although, Coke has started removing the cocaine from the leaves before using them. The children would chew the leaves and several of the mummies have been found with chewed leaves still inside their mouths. A few weeks before the sacrifice took place, the children’s dose of coca would increase dramatically and they would also start consuming large quantities of alcohol. These would have made them very incoherent by the time of the sacrifice, if not unconscious. At that point, the children were killed in one of three ways: strangulation, one quick blow to the head, or left in a secluded cave to die of hypothermia in their sleep. Strangulation was the least common, with the quick blow to the head being the most. Usually, the children were killed quite quickly while as incoherent as possible, in an effort to make the child’s death not quite as traumatic.



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