Human Sacrifice

Punk Archaeology  |  09/01/2016

Not bad for a “bomb,” huh?

In this episode you see our Hopi friend Ramson Lomatewama explain that a clan or clans of the Hopi were at one time long ago involved in the practice of ritual human sacrifice. We are not familiar with any instance in which this knowledge has been conveyed in writing or video, and it’s no mystery as to why. Such information could me misused by mouth breathers as validation for the “savage” tag so wrongly applied by short-sighted self interests to the many incredible cultures that existed here long before greed, racism and ignorance tried to exterminate them. We are grateful that Ramson was willing to share this history with us, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share it with you. Not for the shock value of finding sacrifice in the legends of a peaceful people, but for what Ramson explained directly afterward. In his peoples’ history the practice of ritual human sacrifice is regarded as something to avoid at all costs in the future, and it has been ever since. They learned and continue to learn from their past mistakes as a people. Without writing it down.

The Hopi have been regarded as a peaceful people since early settlers first became aware of them – Hopi actually translates as “peaceful person.” While French missionaries witnessed human sacrifice in North America as recently as the 1700s at a ceremonial site of the so-called “Mississippian” culture we visited in Nachez, Mississippi, this was not happening on the Hopi mesas. However, it may have been happening hundreds of years prior at Chaco Canyon, a site frequented by the ancestors of the Hopi, the Hisatsinom. If it were, it would certainly explain the stories of a darkness appearing there, the widespread evidence of brutality found throughout the region, and the abrupt manner in which the people of Chaco fled the site.

Pueblo Bonito, Greatest of the Great Houses, Chaco Canyon NM
Pueblo Bonito, Greatest of the Great Houses, Chaco Canyon NM

In order to get people to buy-in to an extreme idea like human sacrifice, you’ve got to have a powerful core group of leaders willing to exert that power to create obedience via fear. It’s difficult to associate such a nasty undertaking occurring at a place like Chaco that we suppose as spiritually significant sacred space, but if the ruling group’s arsenal includes education and religion it’s as easy as dogma. When the Maya priest stood atop the pyramid and made the sun disappear during an eclipse, everyone in the audience who wasn’t a priest was his stooge for life. So how do we know there was such a group at Chaco?

As we discuss in this episode, cylinder jars were found under Pueblo Bonito, the greatest of Chaco Canyon’s great houses, in initial digs conducted by Richard Wetherill in the 1800s. These jars were tested recently by a team at the University of New Mexico led by anthropology professor Patricia L. Crown and were found to contain the residue of a cacao beverage drank by the elite Maya. There is a petroglyph of a Cacao plant behind Pueblo Bonito underlining the importance of this beverage to the people of Chaco, that had been misunderstood for years prior to Crown’s find. The limited number of these jars found, the location in which they were found (Pueblo Bonito) and the fact that we know the Maya elite indulged in this beverage suggests an elite presence at Chaco Canyon.

Temple and Plaza at Tikal, Guatemala
Temples Like This One at Tikal Ensured the Priests Were High Above the Masses

Furthermore, the date of the pottery tested revealed origins in 1000-1025AD. This not only falls directly after the decline of the Classic Period of the Maya that led many Maya to emigrate from Mesoamerica, it falls directly in the middle of Chaco’s existence – 150 years after building started and 100 years prior to the drought that helped to usher in the end. Hopi oral legend states that some clans of the Hopi were at one time Maya, and migrated North. A similar story is told in the oral legends of the Creek people who fled sacrificial practices in South America and Mesoamerica to start again in North Georgia. Was the influx of an elite presence from Mesoamerica responsible for the darkness that may have included ritual human sacrifice leading to Chaco’s abrupt decline?

Author Gary A. David mentions the brutal Chichimecs as potential culprits in this scenario, having been known as cannibalistic barbarians. Interestingly the Chichimecs are called the “sons of the dog,” and Chaco Canyon aligns with Sirius in Gary’s Orion Correlation of Hisatsinom sites – the dog star. Dogs were found buried throughout the Southwest, could this be another indication of Chichimec presence? Could clans of the Hisatsinom have at one time lived among the Chichimecs?

Kivas at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon
Kivas at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon

Like our corporate leaders, the ruling elite at Chaco may have used their power to get the masses to conduct enormous ceremonies in Chaco’s many kivas for their benefit – kivas built using 200,000+ trees from forests 50+ miles away. In America we conduct our daily ceremonies by performing our Straight Job in the modern kiva called the Office. We worship a corporate god, and we are destroying the environment to celebrate it via Debt Slavery and Consumerism which is hammered into us by marketing dogma telling us that we need to accumulate more at any cost to be a success in this so-called culture.

Just as we allow corporate appetites to feast on our precious greenery, the Maya deforested aggressively to build massive temples, plazas and agricultural sites to feed their growing population and the desires of a ruling elite that emerged along the way. Thanks to the work of Dr. Jaime Awe (who you will meet in upcoming episodes), we know this deforestation exacerbated mounting drought conditions and led to famine, war and diaspora among the Maya before the Spanish arrived. For some reason our society trudges forward boldly and blindly, supporting corporate greed despite frightening mounting environmental dangers much like the many failed civilizations prior to ours. Wouldn’t you think we’d benefit from having more past information to draw from than any prior civilization?

We begin this episode pointing a finger at leadership, which is getting more difficult to do every day as political figures duck, dodge and morph into corporate sycophants. Who is really running the show these days and why do we continue allowing our elected puppets to appease them at our expense? How is it acceptable to anyone that Trump and Clinton are the two best choices we could come up with out of 320+ million people for the highest office we have to offer? While we struggle to understand the depth of our shitshow we can look back at examples provided by the Maya and Hisatsinom, and we can learn a good lesson from the Hopi of today.

The Hopi pray for the continuance of all living things, a polar opposite to the human sacrificial practices that at least some clans appear to have been involved in at one time in Mesoamerica or North America. Perhaps early clan forays into elitism and sacrifice led them to the peace with which they have lived together now for more than a thousand years at their center place in Northern Arizona. There’s a huge lesson to be learned here and a great deal of hope for all of us: All we need to do is be smart enough to stop the human sacrifice and start again. People are waking to the nightmare, but time seems shorter every day as science continues to bump-up our approaching expiration date.

Recent studies by the University of Georgia and National Academy of Sciences reveal that our extensive elimination of foliage is putting us on track for the sixth major mass-extinction event the earth has experienced. “The sun’s energy is stored in plants and fossil fuels, but humans are draining energy much faster than it can be replenished,” explains John Schramski, an associate professor in UGA’s College of Engineering. Basically, the biomass “battery” of earth is depleting. The 1,000 Billion tons of carbon in the biomass of the earth 2,000 years ago has been reduced by half, 10% in the past 100 years alone. “If we don’t reverse this trend, we’ll eventually reach a point where the biomass battery discharges to a level at which Earth can no longer sustain us,” adds Schramski. “These laws are absolute and incontrovertible; we have a limited amount of biomass energy available on the planet, and once it’s exhausted, there is absolutely nothing to replace it.”

Isn’t it odd that this is happening during a time that prophecies of the Hopi, Maya, Hindu and other ancient cultures claim to be a time of great upheaval, cataclysm and change? The good news is that we have a roadmap for a future should we choose one. All we have to do is stop the human sacrifice and start again.

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