Skeletons of 140 child sacrifice victims found in Peru

The remains had been preserved in dry sand for more than 500 years. Gabriel Prieto  National Geographic

"I, for one, never expected it", John Verano, an anthropologist at Tulane University who worked on the dig, told National Geographic.

On the North coast of Peru archaeologists have discovered the remains of more than 140 children, which apparently is the largest example of mass child sacrifice in America - if not the world, according to an exclusive report by National Geographic.

In an email, Dr Quilter said the site provides "concrete evidence" that large scale sacrifices of children occurred in ancient Peru. Interestingly, three adult skeletons, that included two women were found on the bluff nearby.

The 140 sacrificed children were five to 14 years old at the time of the ritualistic human sacrifice that cut their lives short. Their culture arose about 900 AD, and the region they claimed for their own while a desert area, had rivers that carved fertile valley plains which were flat and well-suited for irrigation. So you could say their economy centered around agriculture and fishing. Evidence shows they worshipped the moon. The most common object used for offerings was the shell of the Spondylus shellfish, which resides only in the warm coastal waters off present-day Ecuador. Chimú were the second largest Empire in Peru before the Spanish colonization, next to the Incas, which is also known for child sacrifices. The team also believes the mud layer once covered the entire sand dune and was disturbed when the site was being prepared for the burial of the victims. Archeologists had identified 42 children and more than 70 llamas by 2016, but they've now identified more.

Why did this horrendous event happen?

The photos how children's face smeared with a red cinnabar-based pigment, which was just after the ceremony where their chests were cut open, most likely to remove their hearts. "And I do not think anyone else would have, either". Archaeologists are unclear as to what was the reason these ancient people sacrificed their most beloved possession - their children.

"Llamas were also very important because these people had no other beasts of burden, they were a fundamental part of the economy".

Professor Prieto said along with the bones, researchers found footprints that had survived rain and erosion. The llamas were all less than 18 months old and were buried facing east, toward the Andes. Robes and fabric discovered in the site were dated between 1400 and 1450.

High sea temperatures caused by the El Nino effect would have disrupted marine fisheries in the area, while coastal flooding could have overwhelmed the Chimu's extensive infrastructure of agricultural canals, the publication said.

"In ritual sacrifice there was a hierarchy".

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