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25 Cultures That Practiced Human Sacrifice

Human Sacrifice

As horrible as it may sound, there are many cultures who practiced human sacrifice. Many of these cultures believed that it was the only way to please the gods who were responsible for crops, weather, and other ways to sustain life. There are 25 cultures that practiced human sacrifice.


Human sacrifice practiced in China for thousands of years. A 4,000-year-old cemetery found in northwestern China, and the archaeologists involved in the dig found hundreds of tombs. Many of the tombs believed to hold human sacrifices. One of the victims was no older than 13. By the time China became unified, human sacrifice stopped.

City Of Ur

The ancient city of Ur is located in modern-day Iraq. This is where the Great Death Pit is located, and it contained the remains of 68 women and six men. It is believed that these people were all sacrificed.

Mound 72

Cahokia is a city near modern-day St. Louis, and it flourished from 1050 to 1200 A.D. In this area, archaeologists found a 10-foot mound, known as Mound 72. The mound is very complex, and it held the bodies of people as a sacrificed in a series of episodes. In the first, 52 women between the ages of 18 and 23 found who appeared as malnourished. In another episode, 39 men and women found and clubbed to death.

Inca Child Mummies

The Inca people flourished during the 15th century A.D. and often practiced child sacrifices. Archaeologists found mummies of children around the Andes. According to researchers, the children fattened up with a diet of maize and dried llama meat, and then they sacrificed.

Maya Sacrifice

On special occasions, the Maya people practiced this tradition. Many of the victims were prisoners of war, and the sacrifices took place in the temples. According to researchers, Maya ball games would end with members of the losing team as sacrificed.

Ancient Israel

The Hebrew Bible mentions human sacrifice being carried out by the Israelites on several occasions. The most popular biblical story is of Abraham, who told by God to sacrifice his son, Issac. Before he completes the task, God tells Abraham that he was only testing him. This story is in the book of Genesis.

Aztec Civilization

The Aztec Civilization in Mexico flourished during the 14th and 15th centuries. Archaeologists have found evidence that indicated that human sacrifice occurred during this time.

Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, over 5,000 years ago, human sacrifice was common. Human sacrifices found by the graves of early pharaohs. Over time, the practice phased out.


The skeleton of a man found buried in a ditch at Stonehenge. Archaeologists believe that the 5-foot, 10-inch man found there was a victim of human sacrifice.


Kamikaze pilots often tried to crash their planes into Allied ships in this area during World War II. These people did sacrifice their own lives, but it is still human sacrifice.


In Hawaii, human sacrifice was popular up until the late 19th century. It believed that people clubbed to death by elite members of the island to control the population. Archaeologists have found that temples in Hawaii built with alters where human sacrifice took place. They also sacrificed animals.

Ancient Romans

According to ancient Roman writers, human sacrifice was very common during Rome’s early history. When the Romans defeated at the Battle of Cannae in 216 B.C., they resorted to human sacrifice.

Greeks Sacrificed To Zeus

Text and archaeological remains indicate that the ancient Greeks practiced human sacrifice. In 2016, a 3,000-year-old skeleton of a male teenager found at an altar dedicated to Zeus.

Moche Sacrifice

The Moche people once lived in Peru, and they frequently practiced human sacrifice. In a temple that is now popular as Huaca de la Luna, the remains of dozens of sacrificed people discovered.

Dahomey Kingdom

The rulers of the West African Kingdom of Dahomey often practiced human sacrifice. By some accounts, there are over 1,000 people as a sacrificed. Modern-day researchers believe that this number is much lower.

Celtic Sacrifices

The Celts thrived in Europe and the Middle East during ancient times. Ancient Roman writers claim that the Celts practiced human sacrifice on a large scale before converting to Christianity. The sacrifices carried out by the Druids.

The Nazca

The Nazcas are famous for constructing the Nazca Lines, which are thousands of geoglyphs scratched in the desert floor. They are also known for practicing human sacrifice. Archaeologists have found the remains of trophy heads at several Nazca sites.

Viking Sacrifice Slaves

When a Viking slave owner died, their slaves were often sacrificed. The remains of many sacrificed slaves were found in Flakstad, Norway.

Carthage Infants

Carthage is an ancient city that is known today as Tunis, in North Africa. Archaeologists have found thousands of urns which held the cremated remains of infants. It is believed that these infants were sacrificed; however, there are different theories.

Mongol Invaders

The Mongols controlled a vast territory from East Asia to Europe about 700 years ago. It is believed that during this time, they practiced human sacrifice.

Prehistoric Europe

A study was published in the Journal of Current Anthropology in 20017. In the report, researchers described the evidence of human sacrifice. Most of the evidence found proved that many of the remains found did not die naturally. Researchers believe that they have found proof of human sacrifice.

Ancient Korea

Archaeologists found evidence in May 2017, that human sacrifice was common in ancient Korean kingdoms. They found two skeletons beneath the was of Moon Castle that dated back 1,500 years. It is believed that they were sacrificed.

Indus Valley Civilization

The Indus Valley Civilization was located in what we know today as Pakistan. Images and text discovered in the area show that human sacrifice was often practiced. On image was of a kneeling person with a human head on a stool.

India Funeral Pyres

There is an ancient Hindu ritual called Sati, where a woman chooses to leap onto the funeral pyre of her husband after he died. Today, the practice is outlawed.


In the east African nation of Tanzania, people with albinism are being sacrificed. These are people without pigment in their skin or hair. It is an ongoing problem today.

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