Archaeologists discovered the site of an ancient mass sacrifice of children

30 April, 2018, 12:05 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • Remains of 140 children who died in the 16th century, point to largest child sacrifice in history

Lima: Archaeologists in Peru have found evidence of the biggest-ever sacrifice of children, uncovering the remains of more than 140 youngsters who were slain alongside 200 llamas as part of a ritual offering some 550 years ago, National Geographic announced on Thursday.

A shocking discovery was made near the Pacific ocean, among residential complexes in La Libertad outside of Trujillo, the third largest city of Peru.

The sacrifice site, once known as Huanchaquito-Las Llamas, was part of the little-known pre-Columbian Chimú Empire and is located near the UNESCO World Heritage site of Chan Chan, the Chimú administrative centre.

In an email, Quilter told the AP the site provides "concrete evidence" that large scale sacrifices of children occurred in ancient Peru.

Ongoing scientific investigations into the Peru site, formally called Huanchaquito-Las Llamas, are being carried out by an global team funded by the National Geographic Society. "And I don't think anyone else would have, either", physical anthropologist John Verano, from Tulane University Verano, said in a statement.

"I, for one, never expected it", Verano told the magazine.

The children's skulls are stained with red, evidence that they were sacrificed in ritual killings, as the pigment was used in ceremonies.

According to Prieto, researchers also found footprints that have survived rain and erosion and he said that the small footprints indicate the children were marched to their deaths from the ancient city of Las Llamas - Chan Chan, for about approximately 1 mile. At the same time, the young llamas, less than 18 months old at the time of the sacrifice, were interred facing the opposite direction, towards the Andes.

Their sternums were cut and their ribs dislocated so their chests could be broke open and pulled apart, likely to facilitate the removal of the heart. The layer could have been caused by the rains in the usually dry area - probably linked to extreme weather event such as the El Nino.

The children were sacrificed with 200 llamas on top of a cliff on Peru's northern coast in a region that was ruled by the Chimu Empire until around 1475. Archeologist have been exploring the dig site known as "Huanchaquito-Las Llamas" since 2011 when locals found human remains there.

"There's this idea that ritual killing is contractual, that it's performed to get something from supernatural deities", Klaus said.

In the grave were found the remains of 140 children. "They may have seen that [adult sacrifice] was ineffective. Maybe there was a need for a new type of sacrificial victim".

"This just may be the tip of the iceberg".

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