Largest Child Sacrifice Remains Found in Peru

Lydia FlemingApr 30, 2018

During three years of careful excavation, the archaeologists found that over 140 children, between the ages of 5 and 14 years of age, along with 200 young llamas were ritually sacrificed and buried on a bluff overlooking Peru's northern shoreline, in the shadow of what was then the capital city of Chan Chan, a large adobe city in the Moche Valley of present-day Trujillo, Peru. Researchers estimate the event likely occurred around 550 years ago, when the area was controlled by the Chimú Empire, the second largest pre-Columbian society behind the Incas.

"We now know there was child sacrifice on a massive scale in ancient Peru, in a manner not seen before in South America", said Verano.

Until this discovery, the largest occurrence of child sacrifice was the ritual murder of 42 children at Templo Mayor in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán at what is now the centre of Mexico City.

The sacrifice site, formally known as Huanchaquito-Las Llamas, is just a thousand feet from the sea. The team is led by Gabriel Prieto of the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo and John Verano of Tulane University.

By 2016, the remains of 140 children and 200 young llamas had been discovered at the site. The llamas were all less than 18 months old.

The youngsters had their faces smeared with a crimson cinnabar-based pigment, the report says, which happened through the ceremony earlier than their chests have been minimize open, nearly certainly to take away their hearts.

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The positioning the place the kids and child llamas have been discovered has been below excavation since 2011, when the positioning first made headlines after the invention of 42 kids and 76 llamas throughout an emergency dig.

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

The condition of the remains suggests the children had incurred cuts to the sternum and rib dislocations for the removal of their hearts.

The remains of three adults - a man and two women - were also found near the mass grave of the children, with evidence of blunt force trauma on their skulls.

It is noted that the burial could be created by the ancient Chimu Empire at a time when in the area of the Peruvian coastline began to experience severe flooding. "Maybe there was a need for a new type of sacrificial victim". Human sacrifice has taken place in every corner of the world at one time or another in our history, although the mass sacrifice of children is very rare, actually nearly unheard of to most scientists.

The site is a short distance from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Chan Chan.

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