This might be the world's largest child sacrifice site

This might be the world's largest child sacrifice site

Archaeologists in Peru have uncovered what may have been the world's largest mass child sacrifice, National Geographic reports in an exclusive story.

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

Archaeologists in Northern Peru said that the found a trace of the mass child sacrifice of the ancient civilization that existed about 550 years ago. The excavations continued through 2016, and resulted in the discovery of more than 140 sets of child remains and 200 juvenile llamas, according to National Geographic.

Incidents of human sacrifice among the Aztec, Maya and Inca have been well documented throughout history but the discovery of such a large-scale child sacrifice event is unprecedented in the Americas, if not the entire world, National Geographic reported. The delay between the initial discovery and actual examination of the site was held up until the global, interdisciplinary team, led by Gabriel Prieto of the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo and John Verano of Tulane University, were able to get sufficient funding for. a proper excavation.

The 140 sacrificed children ranged in age from five to 14 and were buried facing west towards the sea.

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.

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The name of the archaeological site, "Huanchaquito-Las Llamas", is already well-known from a previous discovery of child and llama remains in 2011, notes Fox News.

"I, for one, never expected it", Verano told the magazine of the sacrifice site, known to the researchers as "Las Llamas". The baby llamas were buried facing east, toward the high peaks of the Andes.

Aside from the astounding number of child and llama skeletons, the 7,500-square-foot site also yielded the remains of three adults, which had been less ceremoniously entombed and which experts believe may have been involved in the mass sacrifice. Items found in the burials, such as ropes, are radiocarbon dated to between 1400 and 1450, toward the end of the Chimu Empire's rule, before they were conquered by the Incas. "They may have seen that [adult sacrifice] was ineffective".

Professor Verano said the children's skeletons contained lesions on their breastbones, which were probably made by a ceremonial knife.

The researchers are now attempting to trace who the children were, and where they came from.

The layer of mud, which held fossilized footprints of the children and the llamas, suggests there was severe rain and floods on the typically dry coastline, which is often affected by El-Nino, the researchers said.

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