Sacrificial rituals featuring human heart extraction were a prevalent religious practice throughout ancient Mesoamerican societies. Intended as a means of appeasing and honoring certain deities, sacrifices served as acts of power and intimidation as well as demonstrations of devotion and gratitude. Human sacrifices were highly structured, complex rituals performed by elite members of society, and the ceremonies included a myriad of procedures imbued with symbolic significance. The specific techniques performed, the instrumentation utilized, and the underlying mythology motivating sacrifices varied across civilizations. Given the diversity of sacrificial rituals throughout Mesoamerica, Vera Tiesler and Guilhem Olivier assert an interdisciplinary approach incorporating scientific and humanistic evidence is needed in order to gain more nuanced insights into the procedural elements and the religious implications of human sacrifice during the Classic and Postclassic periods.
Source: Practice of human heart sacrifice in Mesoamerica revealed in new study