Mexican Temple: Human Sacrifice at Oldest Temple in Valley of Oaxaca?

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(Photo: Reuters.Henry Romero)A Mexican temple is shown in this file photo.

A temple has been found in Mexico that may have been used for human sacrifice, according to reports out this week.

The newly discovered temple complex has been found in the Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico and initial investigations have revealed that a specialized hierarchy of priests may have operated in the temple, indicating that human sacrifices were conducted there, according to Live Science.

Researchers have so far found a human tooth and what they believe is a human limb bone at the temple, as well as the scatterings of animal sacrifices and obsidian blades.

It is believed that the temple dates back to about 300 B.C., and was used by the Zapotec civilization of what is now Oaxaca, Live Science has reported.

At the site there is the main temple complex, consisting of a main temple and two smaller temple buildings. Nearby are also at least two residences, which were likely reserved for priests. Fireboxes have also been found, which would have been used for sacrifices.

As a whole, the site is about 54,000 square feet (approximately 5,000 square meters).

The remains of turkeys, doves and other animals were also found at the site, and these together with the Obsidian blades and lances indicate that sacrifices were a big activity at the location. The human tooth and human limb bone have led to suggestions that human sacrifices were also used there, but scientists cannot confirm that at this time.

The temple complex has been burned, and scientists currently believe that it must have fallen into disuse by about the first century B.C. or the first century A.D. - that would make it the oldest temple ever discovered in the Valley of Oaxaca.