Capacocha : what is it ?

The ritual sacrifice called Capacocha (or Qhapaq hucha) was a key component to the Inca Empire.

This ritual, which usually involved the sacrifice of children, was for celebratory events. These events included an annual or biennial event in the Incan calendar, the death of an emperor, the birth of a royal son, or a victory in battle, and were performed to prevent natural disasters such as volcanic eruptions, droughts, earthquakes, and epidemics.

Beyond celebratory events and sacrifice for prevention, child sacrifice represented military and political expansion for the culture along with the empire’s ability to use coercion and control.

As tribute payment, Inca rulers ordered boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 16 to sacrifice. Evidence of strontium analysis suggests that children were picked from several different geographical areas, taken to the Inca capital, and undergo months of travel to the sacred location of the death.

Archaeologists have discovered through biochemical analysis that coca (the primary source of cocaine) and alcohol were commonly found in the children's systems. Although archaeologists are unsure of why drugs and alcohol were used, some suggest that it was to put the chosen children in a stupor prior to death.