Courtesy of Sebastián Celestino and Carolina López-Ruiz

This bronze horse, measuring 8 inches from nose to tail, was recovered from one of the sanctuary’s perimeter rooms. Horses clearly served some important cultic function in Sanctuary A. Archaeologists have found 30 skeletons of a now-extinct equid (which was larger than a pony or donkey and smaller than a horse), all of them beheaded and buried in Cancho Roano’s moat. From the bones of these creatures, scientists can tell that they were not used as work animals. Perhaps they were ridden only in ritual processions or used as offerings.