Archaeologists in Peru discover mass child sacrifice site

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By the time the excavations had finished five years later, they had uncovered more than 140 sets of child remains and 200 juvenile llamas, as well as rope and textiles dating to between 1400 and 1450.

It's estimated that the children ranged from about 5 to 14 years old, with the majority between the ages of 8 and 12, according to the magazine.

The children had their faces smeared with a red cinnabar-based pigment, the report says, which took place during the ceremony before their chests were cut open, most likely to remove their hearts.

The excavation, conducted in 2016, revealed the remains of more than 140 children and 200 young llamas that had been sacrificed around A.D.

Other South American civilizations, like the Incas and the Aztec, practiced ritual human sacrifice, but archaeologists have never found children's bodies in such a high concentration before.

The ChimĂș, who worshipped a moon deity, were conquered by the Inca civilisation just a few decades later.

The first remains were discovered in 2011, when an worldwide team led by John Verano and Peruvian explorer Gabriel Prieto began the excavations.




The site was first discovered by Gabriel Prieto of the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo in 2011, when he was excavating a 3,500-year-old temple down the road from the sacrifice site. The local fisheries would've been effected and coastal flooding from the rains would've harmed the Chimu's extensive set of agricultural canals.

"People sacrifice that which is of most and greatest value to them", Haagen Klaus, one of the researchers involved in the dig, told the publication.

Discovered in 2011, the excavation sight on the northern coast of Peru has produced evidence of the largest known mass sacrifice in history. They had all apparently died of violent head wounds, and it is surmised they may have participated in the sacrifices. The rains kept coming.

He said it's impossible to know what really happened without a time machine but the discovery contributes significantly to modern knowledge on ritual violence and variations of human sacrifice in the Andes.

Verano said the children's skeletons contained lesions on their breastbones, which were probably made by a ceremonial knife. "Maybe there was a need for a new type of sacrificial victim".

"But it's actually a much more complicated attempt at negotiation with those supernatural forces and their manipulation by the living".

The mass child grave lies less than half a mile from the Chan Chan Archaeological Zone, located on the remains of the Chimu Kingdom capital, Chan Chan, and which now is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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